Modi, Obama target USD 500 billion Indo-US trade

SansadTV Bureau

Obama_modiTargeting a five-fold jump in Indo-US trade to USD 500 billion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama pledged on Tuesday to deepen economic cooperation and will set up a joint program to boost business investment.

After two days of talks focused on ways to reinvigorate the US-India relationship through economic, energy and security cooperation, the two sides agreed on USD 1 billion of concessional financial from the US Export-Import Bank for India’s renewable energy development agency.

The two leaders, who met for the first time, agreed on boosting two-way trade to USD 500 billion from USD 100 billion. However, no deadline was set for reaching that goal.

“President Obama and Prime Minister Modi recognised that US and Indian businesses have a critical role to play in sustainable, inclusive, and job-led growth and development,” a joint statement issued after the meeting said.

In order to raise investment by institutional investors and corporate entities, the leaders decided to establish an Indo-US Investment Initiative led by India’s Ministry of Finance and US Department of Treasury, with special focus on capital market development and financing of infrastructure.

They also agreed to establish an Infrastructure Collaboration Platform convened by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Commerce to enhance participation of US companies in infrastructure projects in India.

“In this context, the US government welcomes India’s offer for US industry to be the lead partner in developing smart cities in Ajmer (Rajasthan), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh),” it said.

President Obama welcomed PM Modi’s ambitious plan to extend basic financial services to all its citizens through the Jan Dhan Yojana.

“The President and Prime Minister underlined the important contribution that US locomotive technology, equipment to monitor rail system assets, and US best practices can play in modernising India’s vast railway network, including accessing programmes of US Trade and Development Agency in this work,” the statement said.

Modi and Obama said they looked forward to the annual US-India Economic and Financial Partnership meeting in early 2015.

They also welcomed the expansion of partnership to oversight of financial institutions, including between Reserve Bank of India and the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.