New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal Thursday called for India and the US to expand their strategic partnership into a more comprehensive economic and trade partnership.
“I do believe that going forward, it is in the interest of both countries to strengthen our strategic partnership into a more comprehensive economic and trade partnership also,” said Goyal at the 2021 India Ideas Summit hosted by US-India Business Council.
Though India is keen on restarting the talks for a mini-trade deal with the US, the Joe Biden-led administration reportedly wants to address the “irritants” first and not negotiate a deal immediately.
A trade deal had earlier been envisioned by PM Modi and former US President Donald Trump but it never came to fruition.
However, the India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF), designed to work for expanding bilateral trade and investment, is set to meet later this year for the first time since 2017.
During the event, Goyal said that though India and the US have started “dialogues” across economic areas of energy, health, trade and innovation to bolster business to business engagement, there’s more to be done.
“India and the US are working together to build resilient supply chains in advanced tech areas but they need to explore several more areas,” he said.
He added that India is in the midst of trade talks with several like-minded countries. “We are currently negotiating free trade agreements and comprehensive economic partnerships with like-minded nations like Australia, EU, UK, UAE…,” he said.
“The increasing trust deficit amongst some geographies in the post-Covid world calls for a resilient India-US partnership,” the minister added.
‘US can make India its manufacturing base’
Goyal also spoke about India’s ambitions to be a stakeholder in global value chains.
“We have focused on strengthening 24 sectors of the Indian manufacturing economy where we have a competitive and comparative edge over other countries,” he said.
The minister also referenced the government’s ambitious Rs 111 lakh-crore National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) announced in 2019, which seeks to boost social and economic infrastructure projects in India.
When asked about how he envisioned India-US economic ties, Goyal said: “The US has huge investment surpluses which can be used in India for promoting infrastructure investments, and also to make India a manufacturing base to grow your economy.”
He added that India can also help reduce healthcare costs in the US “very significantly”.