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US unveils new initiative to strengthen cooperation with India

world Updated: Jul 01, 2010 09:09 IST

The United States has unveiled a new initiative to strengthen commercial co-operation with India, which is aimed at benefiting from new emerging Indian metropolitans like Pune and Nagpur.

"The growth in emerging metropolitan sectors like Pune and Nagpur will accelerate and form new markets for US and Indian businesses," said the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Francisco Sánchez.

"Developing the economies of these cities and states is critical as we work together as equal partners with mutual interests," he said at an event jointly hosted by the US-India Business Council and the Department of Commerce to announce the Growth in Emerging Metropolitan Sectors (GEMS) initiative of the United States.

"However, significant and productive the relationship between our national governments, this new approach to these growing metropolitan areas can help sink deeper into the ground the pillars that already support our common US-India partnership," Sanchez said.

It is expected that nearly 600 million people would live in India's urban areas, with 68 Indian cities surpassing one million inhabitants in each of the next two decades.

The annual income of households in cities would grow from about $700 billion today and double every five years and reach almost $4 trillion in 20 years.

"If we can work together to harness the potential of these new areas of growth, we can grow the economies of both of our nations. This is a win-win situation," Sánchez noted.

"These figures represent the changes we are witnessing in the world market and the potential for India's growth," he said in his speech on "Accelerating Inclusive Growth: The Future of the US-India Commercial Relationship."

With rapid economic development and a growing middle class, the Indian demand for US goods and services is increasing and bilateral trade is growing as a result, he added.

As part of President Obama's National Export Initiative – with the goal of doubling exports in the next five years – Commerce's International Trade Administration has targeted India as one of the most promising global markets, he said.

"The smaller and medium-sized cities of India are, indeed, gems. We want to showcase one of these gems at a conference in the fall when we will bring together representatives from local and state governments and from the infrastructure, energy, healthcare and retail sectors within and from outside India," Sanchez said.

"At the International Trade Administration, we will be managing the GEMS strategy and working to leverage the federal government to provide additional momentum to the economic growth of these cities that can help American companies simultaneously," Sanchez said.

He said President Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are highly attuned to how American investment in India and the expansion of American companies here can help build out the industrial base and the economic infrastructure of an important friend and how these strategies can strengthen America's economy.

"Their announcement at the White House in November to begin work on a framework for cooperation on trade and investment inaugurated an environment conducive to technological innovation and collaboration," he said.

"The framework will support opportunities for trade and investment especially for small and medium-sized businesses, and it can lead to an India that is more self-reliant and increasingly self-assured and to an America that itself grows and prospers," he said.

"The opportunities for the United States and India understandably keep a strong grip on our imagination. Before us is the prospect of creating a new world through much-needed infrastructure while introducing new technologies simultaneously. If we do this right, we will create growth at increased rates and transform the world as we know it today," Sanchez said.