India Inc expects Modi-Obama meeting to propel bilateral trade

Industry leaders have greater expectations from this visit compared to Modi’s meeting with leaders of Japan and China, a study by ASSOCHAM finds

 The Dollar Business Bureau | @TheDollarBiz India-Us-Flag-The Dollar Business Top businessmen in India are optimistic that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington next week will yield greater results for bilateral trade and draw more investments into India compared to his recent meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping. In a survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), about 77% of the 261 top Indian corporate leaders who participated in the survey said that they expect tangible results from the Modi-Obama meeting slated for September 29-30, 2014. The other 23% are perhaps cautious considering that USA’s perceptions of Modi have been less than impressive in the past. However, things have changed since general elections in May in India, and a majority of Indian businessmen are optimistic of a significant improvement in Indo-US ties. Between China and Japan, Modi has received a commitment of investment of $55 billion from the two countries, and around 67% of Indian businessmen in the survey say that Modi’s ability to strike a positive note with leaders of Japan and China shows that Modi-Obama personal chemistry is expected to be a high point of the forthcoming visit.   The ASSOCHAM study said, the Obama Administration has begun seeing Modi in new light. “It is evident from a number of signals, the latest being naming of American – Indian Richard Verma as the Ambassador to India,” said the study.

India-top-10 trade partners-sep-14-thedollarbusiness Source - Ministry of Commerce, India

  D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, said that the visit is important because it can help resolve several problems India is facing now, including divergent views in WTO, issues on visas for IT professionals, non-tariff barriers from the Indian side, concerns on solar equipment import by India, and opening of retail and financial sector. USA is India’s top export destination. The country accounts for over 60% of India’s software exports of $100 billion and for about $39.1 billion merchandise exports. India’s merchandise trade surplus with USA has surged to around $16.6 billion in FY2013-14, up from a mere $2.56 billion recorded in FY2009-10. Some of India’s exports to USA that significantly grew in FY2013-14 include: live animals, seafood, cocoa, textiles, fur, pearls & precious stones, lead, gums, mineral fuels, fertilisers and furniture.

This article was published on September 22, 2014.