Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo noted with satisfaction that the bilateral goods and services trade has almost doubled since 2014, exceeding USD 191 billion in 2022, signalling accelerated growth benefiting both countries.
With the US becoming India’s largest trading partner in 2022, both sides will take further steps to enhance their commercial collaboration and tap into market potential across multiple sectors, according to a joint statement. India and the United States of America held the fifth ministerial-level meeting of the bilateral Commercial Dialogue in New Delhi on Friday.
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo co-chaired and re-launched the Commercial Dialogue in accordance with the US-India Joint Leaders’ Statement of September 2021, with a renewed focus on future and emerging areas of bilateral commercial partnership.
The Commercial Dialogue is part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, develop inclusive and fair trade and investment policies, and leverage the interests of the private sector in pursuing new market opportunities that advance prosperity in both countries, according to a joint statement of India-US Commercial Dialogue.
Both sides envision further coordination on how best to foster an enabling environment for increased investment, including by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-up companies, according to the statement.
Secretary Raimondo took note of India’s initiatives to bolster its infrastructure sector, including the National Infrastructure Pipeline and PM GatiShakti National Master Plan. She also took note of the objectives of India’s National Logistics Policy, which seeks to boost trade and enable digital transformation in India’s logistics sphere.
Minister Goyal acknowledged and recognised the ambitious nature of US initiatives such as the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, Inflation Reduction Act, and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provide investment opportunities in domestic manufacturing, strengthen supply chains, and accelerate the industries of the future.
Both sides expressed a shared interest in exploring collaboration based on mutual trust and confidence, as furthering the economic integration of like-minded countries that share democratic values will bolster transparency, resilience, and security in global supply chains and boost economic prosperity in both countries, as well as the Indo-Pacific region, according to the joint statement.
Secretary Raimondo welcomed India’s active partnership in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and appreciated India’s hosting of the Special Round of negotiations for IPEF Pillars II-IV, between February 8 and 11, 2023 in New Delhi.
The Minister and the Secretary noted that deepening economic engagement among IPEF partner countries is crucial for continued inclusive growth, peace, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. They shared the conviction that IPEF will bring tangible benefits, including through technical assistance and capacity building, from enhanced investments flows; development of infrastructure, connectivity, and more resilient supply chains; facilitation of the clean economy transition to IPEF partner countries and the region at large; and strengthening of anticorruption efforts and tax administration.
To strengthen supply chains in critical and emerging technology sectors, the Minister and the Commerce Secretary acknowledged the benefits of bilateral cooperation. They welcomed the recently launched US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), which elevates and expands the strategic technology partnership between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of our two countries.
Minister Goyal and Secretary Raimondo noted the importance of coordinating with the standing mechanism established by the two governments under iCET, which aims to address regulatory barriers and other issues that impede smooth economic and commercial ties.
The Minister and the Secretary underscored the importance of the Commercial Dialogue in sustaining momentum on shared economic priorities. Towards that end, they confirmed their intention to convene before the end of 2023 a mid-year review led by senior government officials from both sides.
Recognising the importance of US and Indian markets to the global electronics industry, Secretary Raimondo and Minister Goyal intend to utilise the Commercial Dialogue to enhance public and private efforts to promote industry cooperation in the semiconductor sector.
According to the statement, 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.
Towards that end, the Minister and the Secretary welcomed the signing of a MoU establishing a Semiconductor Sub-committee under the Commercial Dialogue, led by the Department of Commerce for the US side and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry for the Indian side, according to the joint statement.
The Minister and the Secretary charged the Semiconductor Sub-committee with convening its first engagement in advance of any Commercial Dialogue mid-year review and reviewing recommendations from the joint industry-led task force launched in connection with the iCET.
Both sides recognised the need for increased bilateral strategic and high technology trade and collaboration given the shared priority of building resilient and trusted global supply chains and the mutual interest in taking forward the outcomes of iCET.
In that context, the US Department of Commerce and Indian Ministry of External Affairs plan to launch an India-US Strategic Trade Dialogue to address export controls, explore ways of enhancing high-technology commerce, and facilitating technology transfer between the two countries. The Dialogue will be led by the foreign secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, on the Indian side and by the Under Secretary for Industry and Security, Department of Commerce, for the US side.
The Minister and the Secretary shared a concern that cyber threats such as unauthorised access, ransomware, and data destruction are growing, as is the need to protect against those threats. This need applies not only to the growing e-commerce, digital payments, and related services sectors, but also to connected manufacturing and critical infrastructure.
Secretary Raimondo welcomed the opportunity to explore the potential for mutually beneficial engagement on cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as information sharing on cyber security and AI resources and approaches under established bilateral mechanisms such as the Commercial Dialogue.
Minister Goyal 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).
To help meet the critical need of enhancing both countries’ energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Minister and the Secretary pledged to facilitate greater connections between industries, including through the development of platforms where opportunities and critical issues in the energy and clean tech sectors will be discussed.
Towards that end, Minister Goyal took note of the 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.
The two sides noted the strong impetus being given to comprehensive green energy development under the US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP). The Minister and the Commerce Secretary expressed support for two key initiatives agreed upon during the recently concluded SCEP Ministerial Meeting–namely, the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies and the launch of a new Energy Storage Task Force. According to the joint statement, both sides also pledged to work together in the Global Biofuels Alliance to be launched under India’s G20 presidency.
Minister Goyal noted India’s interest in seeing greater US collaboration on increasing access to components in the solar power value chain, increasing investment in battery storage, and manufacturing offshore wind turbines.
The Minister noted the US Department of Commerce’s intent 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 modernisation and smart grid solutions, renewable energy, energy storage, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, and environmental technology solutions.
Secretary Raimondo commended Minister Goyal for the impressive scale of India’s ambitions to increase ICT connectivity, promote digital inclusion, and improve efficiency in the delivery of government services through digital tools. Taking note of the rapid pace of digitalisation in both countries, Secretary Raimondo expressed interest in exploring ways to better reflect “our trusted partnership” in the digital realm.
Recognising that small businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the US and Indian economies, Minister Goyal and Secretary Raimondo concurred on the 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.
Acknowledging that India and the US are the world’s third largest and largest start-up ecosystems, respectively, the Minister and the Secretary shared a keen interest in harnessing opportunities for closer integration of both ecosystems, especially in emerging technologies.
The Minister and the Secretary further acknowledged that the movement of professionals and skilled workers, students, investors, and business travellers between the countries, consistent with their respective legal requirements, contributes significantly to enhancing US-India bilateral, economic, and technological partnership.
They recognised that supporting more travel between the two countries will also assist the travel industry in recovering post-pandemic, benefitting SMEs in particular.
In this context, Minister Goyal and Secretary Raimondo announced the launch of a new Working Group on talent, innovation and inclusive growth under the Commercial Dialogue, led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US Department of Commerce and at the Joint Secretary (NAFTA) for the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
This Working Group would also support efforts under iCET, particularly in identifying specific regulatory hurdles to cooperation and fostering greater connectivity between innovation ecosystems (including tech start-ups).
It would further provide specific ideas for joint activities, such as organising dedicated pitching sessions and expos and work towards identifying new innovations and matching them with industry requirements across priority sectors already identified under the iCET framework. The Minister and the Secretary charged the Working Group with convening its first engagement in advance of any Commercial Dialogue mid-year review.
The Minister and the Secretary acknowledged the past work done through the Travel and Tourism Working Group under the Commercial Dialogue. As both countries continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister and the Secretary intend to re-launch the Travel and Tourism Working Group to continue the progress from before the pandemic.
The Minister and the Secretary recognise the desire of both countries to facilitate bilateral trade through improved information sharing and dialogue between the public and private sectors on technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures.
They noted the past work done through the Standards Cooperation workstream under the Commercial Dialogue and concurred on the importance of continued engagement in this important area, which cuts across different sectors, including environmental services, clean technologies, ICT, transportation, and logistics, among others.
Building upon the success of the first and second phases of the US-India Standards and Conformance Cooperation Program (SCCP) as funded by the US Trade and Development Agency, the Minister and the Secretary inaugurated SCCP Phase III for Fiscal Year 2023-2024, to be carried out in partnership between ANSI (American National Standard Institute) from the US side and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) from Indian side in furtherance of standards cooperation between the United States and India.
The Minister and the Secretary welcomed the holding of a US-India CEO Forum meeting after the re-launch of the CEO Forum in November 2022, during which they shared their strategic priorities for the bilateral relationship with CEO Forum members.
Both sides noted with appreciation the valued service and dedication of CEO Forum members from the US and India, as well as their well-considered joint recommendations for the two governments. Both governments are working to examine the CEO recommendations for appropriate action to enhance the economic landscape and ties between India and the United States.
Secretary Raimondo welcomed India’s ongoing G20 Presidency with the theme of — One Earth, One Family, One future — and expressed a shared interest in ensuring substantive outcomes, particularly in trade and investment. The Minister and the Secretary look forward to the next Commercial Dialogue meeting, to be held in Washington, DC, in 2024. They will take forward the agenda discussed and outcomes identified, contributing towards a growing strategic and economic relationship between India and the US.