Asserting the need to further the bilateral trade and economic engagement with a greater degree of flexibility, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday invited the United States to look at India as a manufacturing base.
Mr Goyal was speaking at the annual U.S.-India Business Council's State of US-India Business Summit. He said that India had set a modest target of half a trillion-dollar, which can be achieved through continuous engagement between the two nations.
"India looks forward to working very closely with the new US administration to strengthen the ever-expanding ties in a variety of areas. We need to further India-US trade and economic engagement with greater degree of flexibility," he said.
During the interaction, Mr Goyal also invited the US businesses to look at India as a manufacturing base from where America can "serve a large Indian market and also serve global markets through cost-competitive products".
"Our reforms in defence, mining, labour and agriculture sector will open up new opportunities for the American companies. India shall now have 74 per cent FDI permitted through the automatic route in insurance, which was specifically asked by the US. This will help insurance companies grow in India," he said.
He further said that the US offers technology, finance and innovation, whereas India has a large market that needs to be served.
"The US and India complement each other. While the US offers technology, finance and innovation, India has a large market that needs to be served. At the same time, we need to protect people in agriculture and protect them from low-quality products," Mr Goyal said.
Stressing that India provides an under-served aspirational market, Mr Goyal said the US will have to be very sensitive to price points in India, which matter to emerging economies with millions of people just coming out of poverty.
He added that India looks forward to re-kindle the bilateral institutional mechanism for trade, the Trade Policy Forum, and commercial dialogue to deepen this relationship through continuous engagements.
"As democracies wanting to give a better future to our people, we have a lot of synergy in our thinking. I am delighted to hear that the new administration has re-joined the Paris Agreement," he said.
On India's interest in expanding digital space with the US, the Minister said that India will be conscious of its responsibility to the netizens of the country for data privacy.
"There are a lot of concerns with the big tech companies, and India would like to protect its policy space," he noted.
India informed that free health services are being provided to 500 million people, Mr Goyal said adding that the government has increased the budget on healthcare very significantly and decided to invest very large amounts of money on the ''Jal Jeevan Mission'' over the next 4-5 years to provide clean drinking water to every home.
After the address, the Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said in a tweet, "A pleasure to participate with CIM @PiyushGoyal @USIBC's State of US-India Business this morning. The India-US trade and economic partnership will be a source of strength and prosperity for our two countries and a force multiplier for the world at large."