Eric Garcetti, the U.S. Ambassador to India, speaking at the 20th Indo-U.S. Economic Summit organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) says there is a need for a more ambitious approach towards Indo-US bilateral relations.

“Both the countries should strive to move towards a frictionless bilateral relationship,” adds the ambassador.

He talked about not settling for the efforts made in the past few months including bringing down the retaliatory tariffs and trade between both the countries but envisioning a truly frictionless relationship.

The theme of the summit was ‘Sharing ideas and potential for a sustainable partnership between India and the U.S. for the next 25 years’.

The two countries need to think of how to reduce tariffs and make regulatory bodies more predictable to boost trade and economic relations, Garcetti opines.

This comes following the resolution of seven bilateral trade disputes between India and the U.S. at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where both the countries agreed to reduce the penal duties and retaliatory tariffs on several products.

Going by the provisional data of the commerce ministry, the bilateral trade between India and the U.S. has increased to $128.55 billion in 2022-23 as against $119.5 billion in 2021-22. This registers a 7.65% uptick. In 2020-21, it stood at $80.51 billion. This makes USA India’s largest trade partner for merchandise goods in 2022-23 on account of increasing economic ties between the two democracies.

Chief Guest at the same event, union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, said that the U.S. is the appropriate country with which India can foster a partnership for futuristic technologies and vision.

“As far as the U.S. is concerned, there is a lot of research and innovation going on. It is the perfect time to plan appropriate futuristic technology, futuristic vision, and futuristic development with the US – which is the need of our country,” the minister adds.

Talking about the recently concluded G20 summit in New Delhi, the ambassador says India demonstrated global leadership through the “most successful G20 in the history of the organisation”.

He further observes that there is a massive scope for agricultural trade between both the countries while crowning India and the U.S. as “great agricultural countries”.

“We want India to be one of our top three markets in the world. Here, the productivity in dairy and other areas has leveled off. Some of the work we could do — for instance, to sell feed grains to India, increase the prosperity of Indian farmers, help him or her sell more milk in the market — could create a win-win situation.  This could result in more exports from India as it accepts more imports from America,” he adds.

Addressing the market share of food and drugs, the ambassador suggested that the two countries could work towards alignment of standards so that the products could be pre-approved.

Garcetti’s remarks for a frictionless relation come amidst India’s diplomatic tiff with Canada over the killing of a pro-Khalistan leader in British Columbia. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, in a statement earlier had alleged that the Indian government was involved in an extrajudicial killing in the country. The ambassador, however, refused to comment on the matter when reporters probed him on the sidelines of the summit.

“It is not my place to speak on the matters of another country. As a matter of business, not only this, we don’t talk about intelligence or criminal justice issues,” he says.

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