India weathered the economic crisis better than most countries, the U.S. President said. He added that America, which has gone through a tough two years, now wants reciprocity in trade.

U.S. President Barack Obama today sought to allay the fears of Americans that the trade relationship with India was a one-way street.

“We want access to Indian markets. We want to sell in India... It’s not unfair for U.S. to say that if our economy is open, then the countries with whom we trade will have to change their terms,” the President said.

His remarks came while interacting with students at St.Xaviers college here and in the backdrop of U.S. companies seeking access to India’s financial markets, retail and other sectors.

He, however, assured that the U.S. would reciprocate India’s efforts to strengthen trade ties.

Indo-U.S. bilateral trade stood at $ 36.6 billion in 2009-10 and Mr. Obama yesterday hoped to double U.S. exports in the next five years. U.S. exports to India account for only two per cent of all the goods Washington ships out to the world.

Stating that the U.S. has gone through the toughest two years following the financial meltdown and economic slowdown of 2008, he said India had weathered this crisis better than any other country.

“India is not just a rising power, it has already risen. Its economy has risen at a breathtaking rate... we look forward to a greater role for India at the world stage,” he said, recalling the joint efforts between the two countries at at a grouping of the world’s 20 top economies (G20).

Mr. Obama said ever since his he could remember he had seen the U.S. as a dominant economic power that could deal with the rest of the world on its terms.

“Now because of the rise of India, China and Brazil and some other nations, there is a real competition out there and potentially healthy. This is keeping the U.S. on its toes, because I feel we still can compete,” Mr. Obama said.

Only because the U.S. was the world’s largest economy and a huge market, others just could not come to sell their products and make it a one-way street, he said.

To a question related to his Democratic party’s poll reversal, he said people in the U.S. were frustrated with rising unemployment relative to several decades and the slow pace of progress.

On trade, he said without reciprocity, Americans would end up feeling it’s a bad relationship.

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