Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit, starting on June 7, India today said “protectionism” was creating hurdles and called for a shift from the conservative mindset to boost the Indo-American trade relations.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said this while addressing a programme organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce here.
“There should not be protectionism. Protectionism is one the biggest hurdles between India and US trade relations. There is a need to keep away from it, because the whole world has now become a global village. In order to keep the free flow of trade globally, we should give up our conservative mindset and have an open mindset,” Singh said.
“On outsourcing policy, I expect USA’s approach to be more rational,” he said after releasing a report titled ‘India-US trade- a formidable economic force’ by KPMG.
Singh also said that as a part of ease of doing business, the Home Ministry is thinking of replacing the existing 10-year security clearance for foreign investors with one-time clearance.
The minister hoped bilateral trade between India and the US to touch USD 500 billion in future as both nations have huge potential.
Of late, the industry has been accusing the US and other developed nations of implementing some rules that have become an impediment for Indian traders. The industry has alleged that some of the recent rules by the US including hike in VISA fee and restriction on job visas are part of the “protectionism” being observed by the North American country.
Singh said the US can take the advantage of Indian pharma industry’s success in reducing its health-care bills.
“USA is one the biggest markets for Indian generic medicines. If US allows Indian generic drugs without much restrictions in their market, then definitely the cost of health-care will go down in that country,” he felt.
He said there has been a lot of upsurge in Indo-US relations during the past 14 years. The bilateral trade was USD 90 billion in 2009, which has now crossed USD 100 billion.
“It is a fact the China-US bilateral trade crossed USD 500 billion in 2013 itself. We also hope that the Indo-US trade would reach USD 500 billion. Now India is considered as one of the fastest growing economies due to its strong leadership with a vision,” he said.
He said the NDA government is trying to eliminate “bureaucratic procedures” to pave way for smooth flow of business in the country.
He said the government is mulling to give security clearance to foreign investors at the time of entry.
“We have minimised bureaucratic hurdles or bureaucratic procedures as part of the ease of doing business in India. We will have to do some more improvement in that direction.
Earlier security clearance for investors that come from outside was for three years. Now it has been made for 10 years. I want, and will try that it should not be for ten years. Once they (foreign investors) get security clearance there should not be any more (security) clearances,” he said.
According to him, India received USD 15 billion FDI in 2015-16 and stood as one of the most attractive destinations for investments.
Singh said he too will be leaving for USA next month and the one of the main agendas of his visit would be a dialogue on homeland security.