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  June 1st, 2016 | Written by

Business Groups Urge Obama to Prioritize Trade in Upcoming Meetings with Indian Prime Minister

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  • A strong U.S.-India relationship is beneficial to greater growth and opportunity throughout the world.
  • Indian PM Modi: “Continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment and improve trade.”
  • U.S. businesses express concern that Indian PM's positive rhetoric has “yet to be translated into concrete measures.”

In advance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States next week, business organizations representing thousands of companies and millions of U.S. workers from virtually every sector of the economy sent letters to President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders urging advancement of discussions and concrete action to produce a stronger U.S.-India commercial relationship.

In the letters, the business organizations noted that, “A strong and vibrant U.S.-India relationship is beneficial not only to our two countries, but also to greater growth and opportunity throughout the world. We share the confidence that Prime Minister Modi expressed during President Obama’s visit to India in January 2015 that ‘continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment, improve bilateral trade and investment ties and lead to the creation of jobs and prosperity in both economies.’”

However, businesses expressed concern that “the high hopes and positive rhetoric that accompanied the beginning of [Prime Minister Modi’s] tenure have yet to be translated into concrete measures to improve the business environment for U.S. workers and companies operating in and exporting to India.”

While India has taken a few concrete steps, such as some investment openings and fostering more competition for investment among states, persistent issues remain, such as forced localization barriers, high tariffs as well as new tariff increases, longstanding intellectual property challenges, new foreign investment barriers and proposed bans on foreign direct investment, and a number of other bureaucratic obstacles.

The letters also reiterated that, “Prime Minister Modi’s visit presents an opportunity to discuss and resolve many of these important commercial matters that are limiting India’s own trade engagement and growth. Such progress must be the foundation for further expansion of the U.S.-India relationship.”

Business organizations signing the lettes included the American Business Conference (ABC), Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), American Foundry Society (AFS), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., Inc. (DISCUS), INDA, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA),Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.