‘This has been a “momentous year” for India-US trade and economic relations,’ say the Indian envoy.

‘This has been a “momentous year” for India-US trade and economic relations,’ say the Indian envoy.

This has been a “momentous year” for India-US trade and economic relations, New Delhi’s top diplomat here said Thursday, June 9, 2022, underlining the “enormous” potential of the economic partnership between the two countries.

India’s Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu said, “Last year we did hit a historic high of more than US$160 billion in India-US bilateral trade. Do keep in mind that we were able to achieve this during the pandemic without any formal trade agreement and despite supply chain disruptions.”

Mr. Sandhu was speaking at a reception organised for a business delegation from the Fairfax County of Virginia, which has a strong relationship with India. “This has been a momentous year for India-US trade and economic relations.”

The two-way investments also remain equally robust, said the Ambassador. “With 200 Indian companies present in the United States and more than 2000 US Companies in India, the potential of the economic partnership between our countries is an enormous one,” he said.

India-Virginia trade

India-Virginia trade stood at USD 1.65 billion in 2019 and is estimated to have grown by over 15 percent since then, he said.

India’s exports to Virginia stood at USD 644.44 million and imports from Virginia stood at USD 1.01 billion. Top items of exports from Virginia to India are — minerals and ores; waste and scrap; chemicals; computer and electronic products; and petroleum & coal products.

Top items of exports from India to Virginia are: Textile mill products; chemicals; apparel manufacturing products; transportation equipment; and electrical equipment, appliances and components.

“I understand Virginia will be sending a trade mission to India early next year. We will be happy to make the visit productive and fruitful,” Mr. Sandhu said at the reception which he hosted at the India House.

“While there is much that has been done to capitalize on our economic partnership there is much that can still be done in the days ahead. Governments cannot do it alone. We look forward to our friends from Virginia, the FCEDA and the industry here to be partners in our journey ahead,” he said.

‘Tech key to future’

Mr. Sandhu said that “tech” is the key to the future of India-US relations, and perhaps even the future of the planet.

“To me, it is the most exciting, the most topical, where most of you here have your expertise. It is also closely related to another important ‘T’, which is Talent. Both India and the US are societies that value innovation and ingenuity. Every sector today is affected by technology. No one is immune. The pandemic has only fast-tracked some of these changes which would have otherwise probably taken decades,” he said.

This is where Virginia becomes important, he said. “Virginia is where many say the internet was invented. You know this craft better than anyone else perhaps! And what a journey it has been for the world since then!” he added.

At the recent bilateral Summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden in Tokyo, India and the US launched the initiative for critical and emerging technologies (iCET) — from AI to quantum, biotech, internet of things and 5G/advanced telecommunications, Mr. Sandhu said.

“In each of these areas, there are vulnerabilities as also opportunities. What is interesting about this initiative is two aspects: one, it is led by the respective National Security Council on both sides. Two, it brings together all stakeholders on board beyond the Governments- academia, industry etc,” he said.

The second important development in the tech field is under Quad: There is a huge amount of work going on in ORAN, semiconductors, standards, biotechnology, and quantum technologies etc. under Quad framework, he said.

“At the recent Summit in Tokyo, leaders decided to convene a business and investment forum for networking with industry partners to expand capital for critical and emerging technologies,” Mr. Sandhu said.



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