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Modi and Obama Talk Up Trade

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January 29, 2015

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Modi and Obama Talk Up Trade

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Speaking during his visit to India this week, U.S. President Barack Obama said that over the next two years, the Export Import Bank will support the export of “Made in America” goods worth $1 billion to India.

“We’re advancing the vision that I laid out on my last visit: India and the United States as true global partners. And a core element of this vision is greater trade, investment and economic partnership.”

Speaking at the US-India Business Summit, he said: “In the last few years, we’ve increased trade between our countries by some 60 percent. Today, it’s nearly $100 billion a year which is a record high. And this is a win-win. It’s a win for America and our workers because U.S. exports to India are up nearly 35 percent, and those exports support about 170,000 well-paying American jobs. At the same time, Indian investment in our country is growing, as well. And those Indian investments are supporting jobs across America.”

Ships and boats are one of the main exports from the U.S. to India.

Obama noted untapped potential between the two nations. “Of all America’s imports from the world, about two percent come from India. Of all of America’s exports to the world, just over 1 percent go to India – one percent to over a billion people.

“We do about $100 billion a year in trade with India, which is a great improvement since I took office. But we do about $560 billion a year with China. That gives you some sense of the potential both for the kind of growth that India might unleash, and the potential for greater trade between our two countries.”

In turn, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that U.S. investments in India jumped by 50 percent in the first six months of his government, reports Daily Shipping Times. Modi promised consistent policies, a welcoming environment and predictable taxes to further boost investment in the country. Modi’s government has initiated a “Make it India” policy to make it easier to do business.

India has over 7,500km of coastline with 12 major and 60 non-major ports. Around 90 percent of the country’s trade by volume and 70 percent by value is moved via maritime transport, and the 12 major ports handle approximately 58 percent of cargo traffic.

New projects have been initiated to facilitate trade growth and to reduce port congestion, particularly at Jawaharlal Nehru and Mumbai ports. Recent moves include government plans to develop new ports at Dahanu, Vijaydurg and Revas in Maharashtra that could handle 40 million tons of cargo annually.

The government also plans to develop inland feeder ports (dry ports, directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for trans-shipment of sea cargo to inland destinations) at Aurangabad and Wardha for export-import trade, says Daily Shipping Times.

Modi and Obama also discussed deepening defense ties including the potential to share aircraft carrier technology. India, the world’s largest importer of major weapons, is the biggest defense export market for the U.S.

So far Modi has approved $20 billion in arms purchases since coming to office in May, reports Bloomberg, and after his meetings with Obama, he said that India and the U.S. are taking defense ties to a new level. A joint India-U.S. statement highlighted the need to safeguard maritime security in the South China Sea (where neither country has territorial claims).

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