India-US trade at $500 bn is not a distant dream: Jaitley

RSTV Bureau
Boston: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks at a event organized by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and FICCI in Boston on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Boston: Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaks at a event organized by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and FICCI in Boston on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is in the US, has said that the goal of increasing the annual trade between the US and India to USD 500 billion was not a “distant dream”.

Jaitley noted that the aviation and defence sectors had tremendous opportunities for expansion.

“If one sees the opportunities that the defence and aviation sector in itself offers, increasing annual bilateral trade to USD 500 billion is not a distant dream,” he told a Washington audience on Thursday.

Jaitley said the relationship between India and the US had evolved into a very strong partnership in the last few years and goals like ‘Mission-500′ outlined and re-emphasised the objective of the partnership.

According to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) figures, India was US’ ninth largest trading partner with the total two-way trade of USD 67.7 billion last year.

A lot of US companies had made investments in India and now a lot of Indian companies feel comfortable in making investments in America, Jaitley said at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries held at the headquarters  of the International Monetary Fund.

“We have taken a huge initiative in the defence sector and we want these companies in partnership with Indian companies to set up manufacturing facilities in India itself,” Jaitley said.

Responding to a question on land and labour reforms, Jaitley said they were not an immediate problem to the reform process started by the government in these two sectors.

“We have allowed the State Governments to make whatever necessary changes they want to make in land acquisition laws,” he said.

Noting that the labour problem is overstated in India, Jaitley said the age of workers strike is long over in India.

The also noted that the government in India was broadly sticking to its fiscal deficit targets and even the problem of non-performing assets was being addressed on a very high priority.

Responding to a question on growth, Jaitley said, “…transient impacts should not be construed as any form of a long-term challenge because I do see that the med-term and long-term impact of all these changes is certainly going to be very positive.”

(With inputs from PTI)