Indo-US bilateral trade to grow at US $60 billion

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Kolkata, May 21 (UNI) Indo-US bilateral trade is projected to grow at US billion in the coming year, a three time increase over the past three years, US Consul General in Kolkata Henry V. Jardine said today.

Participating at an interactive meeting at the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries here Mr Jardine said US investment had so far focused on petrochemicals,information technology and financial services, as well as some engineering and infrastructure.

''But with the recent agreement signed between India and the US, other areas like agro-business,science and technology will now offer opportunities,'' Mr Jardine said.

The strategic relation between India and the US had also been expanded with large military exercise such as the joint air force training at the Kalaikunda air base in 2005 and the Malabar exercise in 2007 with the USS Kitty Hawk and USS Nimitz near the Andaman Islands, he said.

The Consul General said to promote commercial relations, the Kolkata chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce was launched in 2006. Several new American firms had visited Kolkata and worked with commercial service to identify agents, distributors and joint venture partners of franchises.

However, Mr Jardine reiterated the need to do away with bandhs "which are impediments to investment inflow".

He stressed that eastern India, particularly West Bengal needed investment in infrastructure like multi-lane highways, flyovers, bridges, ports and airports.

''Another area which needs to be addressed immediately is environmental pollution,'' Mr Jardine pointed out.

UNI PL KK /SRC1926

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