The United States is seeking to broaden its economic relationship with India, said U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson on a recent trade mission to India. After unleashing market-driven economics in the early 1990s, India’s economy has grown at a rapid rate of about 8 percent a year. This has lifted millions of people out of poverty and has opened the door to ever greater trade with the United States.
U.S. exports to India have grown from less than $4 billion in 2001 to over $21 billion last year. In return, the U.S. received $36 billion in goods from India in 2011. Today, there is a unique opportunity to build on this trade partnership due to India’s plan to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure over the next five years.
The investment relationship between the U.S. and India must be characterized by strong and balanced economic growth, said Commerce Secretary Bryson. Already the bilateral investment relationship between the U.S. and India is stronger, as U.S. investment has grown to over $27 billion across a wide range of sectors, including services, manufacturing, and information technology. At the same time, India is a fast-growing source of direct investment into the United States.
A case in point is Mumbai-based Tata Chemicals, which last September announced a joint venture with the New Jersey-based company that makes Arm & Hammer products. Together, they are going to make sodium-based chemicals for the purposes of pollution control and more concretely will invest $60 million in a new manufacturing facility.
These investments must increase for the good of both the United States and India. While India’s direct investment in the U.S. is growing quickly, it remains at only about $3 billion.
A new worldwide initiative, SelectUSA, is aimed at encouraging more India-based companies and investors to choose to invest in the United States. SelectUSA serves as an information clearinghouse for CEOs and investors and offers help with delays and obstacles to doing business. The first annual SelectUSA Investment Summit will be held in Washington in the fall.
Together, the United States and India can build one of the world’s strongest business climates, but only if both countries commit to the principles of fairness, openness, transparency and a level playing field.