U.S.-India trade could increase eight-fold over the next decade, given the right conditions, according to a new report by the Confederation of India Industry, entitled 'India-U.S. Economic Relations: The Next Decade.'
The report said altough the U.S. has been India's largest partner in trade, investment and technology, the two countries have to strengthen their bilateral commercial ties to bring about an expansion from $42 billion in 2007-2008 to $320 billion by 2018.
The new vision for economic engagement must shift from trade in high-technology goods and services to "frontier technology, trade in goods and services, and investments in infrastructure," the report said. In the services sectors, bilateral trade was at around $20 billion in 2007, with the two countries accounting for the volume almost equally, it noted.
In 2007 according to the latest data available, U.S. foreign direct investment in India was $13.6 billion, a 48 percent increase over 2006, and Indian FDI in the United States totaled $3 billion, a 106 percent increase from 2006.
Despite such barriers to trade as visa restrictions, and the limited access to trade in some sectors, trade can be significantly increased in tourism, logistics, healthcare, entertainment and telecom, CII said.
According to the report, the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement, ratified by the United States last October, marks the beginning of a new era in the bilateral relationship, opening up various trade avenues including nuclear energy initiatives.
"India intends to import 24 reactors in the next 11-15 years, and could create as many as 20,000 new jobs directly and indirectly in the U.S. from nuclear trade," the report said.
In the report, the CII also addresses the issue of cooperation on renewable energy and climate change, and advocates expanding partnerships in such sectors as agriculture, science and technology, intellectual property rights, cyber security and higher education.
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