After three years of stalled commercial dialogue between the two biggest democracies in the world, India and the US, on 10 March re-launched their commercial dialogue to discuss supply chain issues and agree upon a semiconductor partnership initiative.
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal jointly addressed a press conference on Friday at the India-USA Commercial Dialogue.
The dialogue focused on several emerging areas, including building supply chains, facilitating clean energy cooperation, talent development, and post-pandemic economic recovery for start-ups and small businesses.
Both the dignitaries discussed India-US strategic partnership, as well as economic and commercial engagement between the two countries, including through the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
During the meeting, the minister and the secretary acknowledged that the bilateral goods and services trade has almost doubled since 2014, surpassing $191 billion recorded in 2022. Both sides welcomed further steps to enhance their commercial collaboration and tap into market potential across multiple sectors, and also enable an environment for investment by small and medium-sized industries (MSME) and startups.
Secretary Raimondo applauded the steps undertaken under the National Infrastructure Pipeline and PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan.
The minister and the secretary welcomed the US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET). The Ministers also noted India’s interest in partnering with the United States in developing a secure pharmaceutical manufacturing base and diversifying supply chains for critical and strategic minerals (including rare earths).
Both countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on semiconductor supply chain and innovation partnership to promote cooperation in the segment. This comes just a week after reports of Apple Inc. partner Foxconn Technology Group planning to invest about $700 million on a new plant in Bengaluru to ramp up local production.
“Recognizing the importance of U.S. and Indian markets to the global electronics industry, Secretary Raimondo and Minister Goyal intend to utilize the Commercial Dialogue to enhance public and private efforts to promote industry cooperation in the semiconductor sector. These efforts will identify opportunities for growth and challenges to address in order to ensure that US and Indian semiconductor industries develop stronger connections, complementary ecosystems, and a more diverse supply chain for semiconductors,” said a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
Both ministers recognized that small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the US and Indian economies and there is need to facilitate collaboration between the SMEs of the two countries and to foster innovation ecosystems that facilitate their post-pandemic economic recovery and growth. In this context, Both sides announced the launch of a new Working Group on Talent, Innovation and Inclusive Growth under the Commercial Dialogue.
This will further the cooperation on Start-ups, SMEs, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship including in digital and emergent technologies. This working group would also support the efforts under iCET, particularly in identifying specific regulatory hurdles that hinder cooperation and fostering of greater connectivity between our innovation ecosystems (including tech start-ups).
The two countries also relaunched the travel and tourism working group to strengthen cooperation between them. “Re-launched the Travel and Tourism Working Group to continue the progress from before the pandemic and to also address the many new challenges and opportunities to create a stronger travel and tourism sector. The activities of this working group also support SMEs as travel & tourism sector comprises SMEs such as hotels, restaurants, travel agents, handicrafts and so on,” the joint statement reads.
Raimondo praised India for its incredible culture, and thanked Goyal for hosting the US delegation and showcasing the nation’s culture. She said it was an “incredibly opportunity” for her to experience Indian culture, making the country a special place.
Both countries also launched the Standards and Conformance Cooperation Program that will be carried out in partnership between US’s American National Standard Institute (ANSI) and India’s Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) towards standards cooperation.
Meanwhile, EAM and Secretary Raimondo launched “strategic trade dialogue” focusing which will address export controls, explore ways of enhancing high technology commerce, and facilitate technology transfer between the two countries. The Strategic Trade Dialogue will address export controls, and ways of enhancing high-technology commerce and facilitating technology transfer between the two countries.
Also, US side to send a senior government official-led Clean Energy and Environmental Technology Business Development Mission to India in 2024.
“The trade mission would be an opportunity to further foster US-Indian business partnerships in grid modernization and smart grid solutions, renewable energy, energy storage, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, and environmental technology solutions,” the joint statement reads.
Both sides also pledged to work together in the Global Biofuels Alliance and in the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies.
The two sides made announcement regarding US-India Energy Industry Network (EIN) as a broad platform for facilitating US industry involvement in the Clean EDGE Asia initiative, the US government’s signature initiative to grow sustainable and secure clean energy markets throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Both sides expressed interest in working together in developing next generation standards in telecommunications, including 6G.
Secretary Raimondo welcomed India’s ongoing G20 Presidency. The ministers expressed interest to look forward to the next Commercial Dialogue meeting, to be held in Washington, DC, in 2024 contributing towards a growing strategic and economic relationship between India and the United States.
The US is India’s largest exporter and trade partner, while India is the ninth largest trading partner for the US. The bilateral merchandise trade during April-January stood at $108.43 billion. Both nations aim to achieve bilateral trade of $500 billion by 2025.
The US is also the third biggest investor in India with a cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow of $56,753 million from April 2000 to September 2022.