This Week: U.S. Lawmakers Recognize Importance of U.S.-India Economic Partnership; Now It’s Time for Action in India

This Week: U.S. Lawmakers Recognize Importance of U.S.-India Economic Partnership; Now It’s Time for Action in India

This week, the critical growing economic relationship between the United States and India was spotlighted by Vice President Joe Biden and several top U.S. lawmakers at events in Washington, D.C.

Though the two nations have been working to develop closer ties for years, last year’s election of Prime Minister Modi signified an opportunity for this relationship to reach its full potential through a number of policy proposals aimed at opening up channels for foreign investment and protecting innovation. This week’s events continued this dialogue on why a stronger bilateral economic partnership is so important and the ongoing steps needed to achieve this goal.

At an event hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Tuesday evening which focused on the Indian commercial investments across the U.S., Congressman Ami Bera, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, recognized the mutual benefits of investment in his remarks. “I believe that growing the economic partnership between India and the US will benefit both economies,” said Rep. Bera.

Indeed, both nations stand to benefit from the added jobs, innovative new technologies and commercial gains that increased investment represents. However, as Vice President Biden pointed out in his remarks during Monday’s event hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the CII, India must begin to implement important policy changes for true growth to occur.

We know that a powerful, growing, vibrant Indian economy is in the best interest of the U.S., and vice-versa, said Vice President Biden. “The U.S. supports the goal of creating jobs and bolstering production here at home, as well as in India, but we need policies that can help achieve these goals without distorting trade or discouraging innovation.”

“…[A]s Prime Minister Modi knows, India can move forward by cutting red tape, battling corruption and lifting limits on foreign direct investment, but that’s a decision for India,” he continued.

Another key AFTI concern highlighted by Vice President Biden: assurance that companies’ intellectual property rights are going to be protected in India.

“An Indian medical student with a brilliant idea for a lifesaving medical device should know that his or her intellectual property will be protected and rewarded because that gives him or her the financial incentive and the intellectual motivation to continue to move forward, and it fosters innovative growth,” continued Biden.

While increased investment by Indian-based companies in the U.S. is a positive indicator that India values a partnership, a year after Prime Minister Modi’s election U.S. companies are still left waiting on the sidelines for the same opportunity to grow and invest in India. To level the playing field, India must implement concrete trade reforms to eliminate localization and tariff barriers and strengthen IP protections. The U.S. has already proven its commitment to facilitating an open and strengthened economic partnership, now it’s time for the Indian government to meet us halfway.