WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Set to testify this week before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing on “Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the U.S. Economy,” U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) President Ron Somers will call on both countries to overcome challenges and strengthen their partnership. “This will pave the way for the world’s two largest free-market democracies to shape the destiny of the 21st Century – for the better.”
India’s size, economic prominence, geopolitical influence and shared values with America make it an indispensable ally, Somers argues, therefore any and all policy discussions about India should operate from that understanding. With a population of 1.24 billion people, more than half under the age of 25, India is poised “to become the world’s largest consumer market,” Somers will note. These facts, coupled with the growth of India’s middle-class present “an extremely lucrative market for American goods and services.”
Since President George W. Bush visited India in 2006, two-way trade has grown from approximately $25 billion to more than $100 billion today. The growth of India’s civil aviation industry has been a major boon for U.S. manufacturers. “Entire fleets of India’s new private aviation industry rely wholly on U.S. exports and content, creating literally hundreds of thousands of jobs here in the United States,” Somers will testify. That’s just one success story of many. Another is India’s telecommunication industry: After opening the market to foreign direct investment, India has become the fastest growing telecommunication market in the world, registering some 10 million cell phones every month.
But it’s not all about the export and investment opportunities that benefit U.S. businesses and create jobs for Americans.
The U.S. and India are cooperating in cyber security, national defense, higher education, clean energy, diabetes and other health issues, low-cost medical technologies, science, space and many other areas. And India’s commitment to democracy, especially in a troubled region of the world, means that America should embrace the relationship even when there are the inevitable disagreements on government policies. India’s 2014 general election, with an unprecedented 800 million voters eligible, presents an opportunity for America to show its support of the nation’s representative government.
That said, USIBC also believes the Government of India should take a number of steps to boost trade and give the U.S. better access to India’s economy. Such steps include improving infrastructure and creating a regulatory environment that rewards and protects intellectual property. “These and other issues can and must be resolved through ongoing cooperation and dialogue,” believes Somers.
“Similarly, the United States must avoid unnecessary steps that would threaten U.S.-India relations and a shared, vibrant knowledge economy,” Somers will caution. Last year USIBC formed its Coalition for Jobs & Growth to promote U.S. immigration reform that enables the free movement of technical professionals, excludes discriminatory provisions that would harm the U.S.-India commercial partnerships and trade, and supports continued economic progress and jobs creation in both nations.
Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) is the premier business advocacy organization advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. Today, USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, headquartered in Washington, DC, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi, comprised of more than 350 of the top-tier U.S. and Indian companies. Ajay Banga, President & CEO of MasterCard, is USIBC’s chairman. For more information, visit www.usibc.com.