Washington, June 6 (IANS): The India-US bilateral trade in goods and services has crossed the elusive $100 billion threshold and now stands at $103 billion, US envoy Richard Verma said here on Saturday, adding that both countries still have a long way to traverse to reach the goal of $500 billion.
Addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Verma said the goal of $500 billion is achievable.
Both sides have restarted the Trade Policy Forum, “which is bringing together Indian and American trade experts to address concerns across a variety of sectors”, he said.
On intellectual property, a technical team of Indian experts will visit Washington for further discussions on how to improve IP protection. “We continue to look for ways to enhance the environment for innovation in a way that promotes our shared interests,” he said.
He said through the US State Department’s Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor (IPEC) initiative, “we are also supporting greater regional economic connectivity between India and its neighbours, complimenting Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Act East’ policy”.
“Through programs aimed at enhancing energy cooperation, building closer people-to-people ties, stimulating trade facilitation and transportation and easing customs and borders, IPEC seeks to strengthen links among South Asian countries and with Southeast Asia,” he said.
He said under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign policy “India has been on the move. In the past year the prime minister has reached out not just to the United States, but has visited over 18 countries and 33 cities.
“He is signalling that India will be a player on the global stage for years to come and we welcome and support that global leadership role – politically, economically and in global institutions”.
“We have also been heartened and grateful for the leadership India has shown in the face of recent crises. India’s response to the devastating earthquake in Nepal has been remarkable.
When disaster struck, India spared no time in mobilizing its sophisticated crisis management mechanisms, providing crucial support to a neighbour in need. In a similar gesture, India rushed to provide fresh water assistance to the Maldives when its water treatment facility ceased operating,” he noted, according to a US embassy statement.
He said India and the US are “partnering more closely than ever before”.
“We are tracking 77 different initiatives that came out of the January Obama-Modi Summit, in fields that range from defense cooperation to health and renewable energy. Our collaboration is broad-based and global in nature. Our doctors and health experts are working together with African medical communities to fight HIV/AIDS,” he said.