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India must act quickly to institutionalise the trade issues

By Staff
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Mumbai, May 3 (UNI) India must act quickly to institutionalize the new trade and investment opportunities that have opened consequent to wide-ranging Indo-US economic and strategic cooperation agreements signed by US President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh recently, said US Under Secretary for trade and commerce Franklin L Lavin.

Speaking at an interactive meeting organised today by the Indian Merchants Chamber(IMC), Mr Lavin said that India must capture this positive movement, which has come after a long time and it must act quickly and institutionalize the mechanism for new trade and investment opportunities. ''Any complacency in this respect can be risky,'' he observed.

He said US investment in India was a mere USD 6 billion, while that in Singapore, a tiny island nation, was as high as USD 57 billion.

''Indeed, Indo-US bilateral trade has been growing speedily from a mere USD 2.5 billion a couple of year ago to USD 27 billion in 2005.

This year it is expected to rise further,'' Mr Lavin said.

''India's imports from the US amount to 25 to 30 per cent of its total import basket. But it is only 1 per cent of the total global exports from the US.

This is because the two countries started focussing on increasing bilateral commercial relations only a few years ago. US wants to take another serious look at India. And India must not fail to respond adequately. There is an unprecedented US business interest in India,'' he said.

''India and US were the world's two largest democracies and natural partners, sharing common values. As many as two million Americans of Indian origin and 85,000 Indian students in the US are a strong bridge between the two countries providing a wide spectrum of connectivity,'' Mr Lavin added.

US and India has set a bilateral trade target at USD 40 billion for achieving in the next three years.

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