Targeting a five-fold jump in Indo-US trade to US $500 billion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama on Wednesday pledged 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 India-US relationship through economic, energy and security cooperation, the two sides agreed on US $1 billion of concessional financial from the US Export-Import Bank for the country's renewable energy development agency.
The two leaders, who met for the first time, agreed on boosting two-way trade to US $500 billion from US $100 billion. However, no deadline was set for reaching that goal.
FULL COVERAGE:PM Narendra Modi in US
The US President and PM Modi recognised that businesses of the two countries 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 the 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 firms in infrastructure projects in the country. In this context, the US government welcomes the government'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.
The government will welcome two trade missions in 2015 focused on meeting its infrastructure needs with US technology and services.
The two leaders discussed their concerns over the current impasse (including on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes) in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its effect on the multilateral trading system. Modi and Obama directed their officials to consult urgently along with other WTO members on the next steps, the joint statement said.
The two sides committed to work through the Trade Policy Forum to promote a business environment attractive for companies to invest and manufacture in India and in the US. They committed to hold public-private discussions in early 2015 under the Commercial Dialogue on new areas of cooperation, including innovation in advanced manufacturing.
The US President welcomed Modi's ambitious plan to extend basic financial services to all its citizens through the Jan Dhan Yojana. Obama and the Prime Minister underlined the important contribution that US locomotive technology, equipment to monitor rail system assets, and US best practices can play in modernising the country's vast railway network, including accessing programmes of US Trade and Development Agency in this work, the statement said.
Agreeing on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation, the leaders committed to establish an annual high-level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum. In particular, the two leaders recognised the contribution of the Information Technology industries of both the countries and the IT-enabled service industry in strengthening India-US trade and investment relations.