India’s economic growth and indirect taxation reforms could support more US exports to the country in future, the US Trade Representative has said in a new report. “India’s economic growth and development could support significantly more US exports in the future. India’s reform of its goods and services tax could help create a common internal market that significantly lowers transaction costs,” the US Trade Representative (USTR) said in its voluminous annual report on trade.
The first such report under the Trump administration, it gives an indication of the policies of the new US government with other countries of the world including India. The report indicates that the Trump administration is optimistic of the reforms started by India. “India’s new National Intellectual Property Rights policy could protect US innovations,” it said.
“While these reforms are encouraging, there has also been a general trend of tariff increases in India, which reflects an active pursuit of import substitution policies,” USTR said, adding that in 2017, the US will press India to make meaningful progress in relation to these ambitious goals.
Among other actions, the report said, USTR will follow through with work plans agreed to during the October 2016 US India Trade Policy Forum (TPF), which will include convening digital video conferences and in-person meetings on intellectual property rights, promoting investment in manufacturing, agriculture, and trade in goods and services.
“This regularised engagement will provide an opportunity to achieve meaningful results on a wide range of trade and investment issues, and allow the US and India to partner on issues of mutual interest in advance of the 2017 TPF,” the report said. Taking note of the balance of trade in favour of India, the report refers to the multi-fold increase in bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Two-way US-India trade in goods and services in 1980 was only USD 4.8 billion; it grew to an estimated USD 9 billion in 2015 (latest data available for goods and services trade) – an annual growth rate over this period of better than nine percent,” it said.
Former US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set the target of increasing the goal of USD 500 billion. At the same time, the report rued that the existing Indian trade and regulatory policies have inhibited an even more robust trade and investment relationship.