India-US trade reached an all-time high of over $63.7 billion in 2013, with a nearly $20 billion balance in favour of India, official figures released for the year disclosed on Friday.
This record India-US trade in goods was registered in a year in which there was a lot of hue and cry in the United States, including the Obama administration, American businesses and the Congresses, ruing on Indian trade policies.
According to the figures released by the US Census Bureau, in 2013 the US exported $21.87 billion worth of goods to India, while imported $41.82 billion worth of goods, with the over trade being a record $63.7 billion, an increase of 1.7% from the previous year of 2012.
The India-US trade has jumped multiple times in the last one decade. In 2003, the US had exported goods worth $4.9 billion to India and had imported goods worth $13 billion, making a total of nearly $18 billion, according to figures.
The US India Business Council, the premier advocacy group for American businesses in India, believes that the two sides have a potential to significantly increase this trade further.
The report came as an Indian delegation led by Prabhat Kumar Mishra, Joint Secretary (Investment), resume talks here for a US and India Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement with their US government counterparts.
"A quality agreement would propel US-India commercial relations to a new level. We hope to encourage the talks and hear from the joint secretary as to what progress has been made and what industry can do to help bring us across the finish line," USIBC said.
In recent years, the two countries have developed several dialogue mechanisms to strengthen bilateral engagement on economic and trade issues, including a Ministerial Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and a Ministerial Economic and Financial Partnership. The last Meeting of India-US Financial and Economic Partnership was held in New Delhi in October 2012.
The areas covered under the dialogue include macro-economic policy, financial sector reforms and infrastructure finance, anti money-laundering/combating financing of terror (AML/ CFT) and taxation.
India and US are now negotiating the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).
As part of the Economic Dialogue, a separate Commercial Dialogue has been set up to cover (a) Trade Defense Measures (b) Small and Medium Enterprises and (c) capacity building on Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
For greater involvement of private sector in discussion on issues involving trade and investment the bilateral India-US CEO's Forum was reconstituted in 2009. The last round of the reconstituted CEOs' Forum was held in July 2013 here.
Separately a private sector advisory group has also been created consisting of prominent Indian and international trade experts to provide strategic recommendations and insights to the US-India Trade Policy Forum.