‘US, India should remain focussed on trade ties’

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal is the first American diplomat to visit India since the Devyani Khobragade epsiode last year hit bilateral dilaogue

March 06, 2014 05:35 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:24 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The US is confident of sorting out trade related differences with India and feels both sides need to keep focussed on growing trade and investment ties.

`` The US is committed to this. If we’re to quintuple our current trade to half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years, international firms need to believe that the benefits far exceed the costs and challenges, and that India remains committed to economic growth. ,'' U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal said here on Thursday.

During a lecture at the American Centre, the visiting US diplomat, the first since the Devyani Khobragade epsiode last year hit bilateral dilaogue, listed areas where Washington wished to see India take proactive steps. ``We’re addressing these concerns head-on as good partners do: either bilaterally or multilaterally through the World Trade Organisation.''

The diplomat also laid out a vision for connectivity with India's neighbours and felt normalising trade relations with Pakistan was the most important task in this regard. India needed to bring down its non tariff barriers and Pakistan should give India the most favoured nation status (India and Pakistan have named it Non Discriminatory Market Access) to get things going.

She added India also has its work cut out to make the US-backed Indo-Pacific Corridor on its eastern flank a reality. India will have to work with its neighbours and key international partners on developing transport and energy infrastructure, reducing the time and cost of moving goods, raise financing, and find regional institutions that can support this work.

On India's western flank, she spoke of another US-backed connectivity project – the New Silk Road – but made no mention of the Indian interest in routes passing through Iran. India will send a trial consignment of cargo through the corridor, which promises to reduce transit time by 40 per cent, this month.

The diplomat, equivalent to Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, listed economic areas where the US wanted India to take a re-look such as domestic content requirements, transparency in tax policies, timely regulatory approvals and a commitment to strengthening intellectual property rights protection.

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