Excerpted from a longer interview with USIBC President Nisha Biswal on the U.S.-India trade and the larger bilateral relationship.

How would you characterise the current India-US dynamic in the context of a so-called global trade war?

Clearly there are increasing trade tensions between the US and India, and that shouldn’t be entirely unexpected. As the trade and investment relationship between our countries deepens, more issues will emerge that require us to create more efficient pathways for business. And the US-India relationship has grown at an incredibly rapid pace over the last five-six years, expanding from $100 billion, when I was in government during the Obama Administration, to roughly $142 billion today.

There’s much more at stake today in US-India economic relationship than ever before, but also more opportunities for industry in both countries if we can find ways to address outstanding trade challenges. For India’s growth to hit double digits, it requires significant new investment inflows – and the United States is the largest single source of India’s FDI. However, ramping investment volumes will require addressing lingering investor concerns. At the same time, Indian companies are increasingly looking for investment opportunities in the United States as they source from the US or produce their goods here. So it’s in both countries’ interest to work through the hard issues on trade and reach agreements that will build confidence in the trade relationship.

Source: India Inc.

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Washington: Indian IT companies contributed $57.2 billion to the GDP of the US in 2017, India’s top diplomat in the US said on Tuesday.

Addressing business leaders in Denver, Colorado, India’s Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India-based global IT services companies employ more than 175,000 workers in the US accounting for 8.4 per cent of employment in the computer systems design and related services industry.

“The US-India relationship is at a critical juncture and needs to evolve with the changing landscape of US global trade relations. State-to-state ties help Indian companies investing in the U.S. and U.S. companies who need support at the ground level in India,” said USIBC president Nisha Desai Biswal.

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Source: Economic Times

The U.S. and India should set an ambitious goal for their trading relationship to better manage trade tensions between the two countries, the head of a major business group tells Inside U.S. Trade.

“You need to have a larger basket of things that have wins on both sides for there to be a real desire to engage and a real desire to give, to compromise, to reach accommodation,” Nisha Biswal, the president of the U.S.-India Business Council said in a July 23 interview.

“And right now, U.S.-India trade ends up being like a knife fight in an alley; each side is fighting over each issue, because they don’t see the larger piece.” “If you don’t put the U.S. and India on the path to creating an overarching bilateral framework, like a bilateral free trade agreement, bilateral investment treaty, … there is no incentive for either side to really give and compromise,” she added.

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Source: Inside U.S. Trade

The US is not just “frustrated” with New Delhi on troubled defence ties, but it is also planning sanctions on India under CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) legislation, a top American government official told ThePrint.

“Not just Turkey, the Trump administration is closely monitoring India also. India’s decision to purchase the S-400 system and its recent plans for more defence purchases from Moscow has become a serious cause of concern…India is now being considered for sanctions under the CAATSA legislation,” said the official who did not wish to be named.

The official, however, said the sanctions would not be imposed immediately since it would take some time for Russia to deliver the S-400 Triumf air defense missile systems to New Delhi, but Washington DC is “extremely frustrated and unhappy” with India on how defence ties have shaped up in the last couple of years.
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Source: The Print

On Monday, early in the afternoon in Washington, D.C., and around the time most people in New Delhi were going to bed, U.S. President Donald Trump livened up a press conference with a revelation that would shake relations between the United States and India, the world’s two biggest democracies: “I was with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi two weeks ago. He actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘Kashmir.’”

Trump was seated beside a smiling Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in Washington this week. Trump then added: “I’d love to be a mediator.”

Nearly 8,000 miles away, in New Delhi, government officials brushed off their disbelief and sprang into action. “No such request has been made,” tweeted Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs. But it didn’t end there. On Tuesday, as Indians woke up to the news, opposition leaders angrily demanded that Modi clarify what actually transpired between him and Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Tokyo last month. While Modi has yet to respond, the country’s external affairs minister, S. Jaishankar, read out a statement in the upper house of parliament, diplomatically mirroring what his spokesman said: “I repeat, no such request was made by the prime minister to the U.S. president.”

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Source: Foreign Policy

On July 24, the Government of India announced a major bureaucratic reshuffle, with over 20 officials assuming new posts.  Click here to view the full list of new appointments approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).  For questions about the impact of this reshuffle, U.S.-India Business Council members should reach out to their committee heads.

On a trip to New Delhi last month to meet members of the newly elected government, Nisha Biswal, president of the U.S.-India Business Council, an advocacy group that connects businesses to governments, took some time out of her schedule to speak with me during her visit. In a freewheeling conversation, Biswal discussed the big opportunities and potential challenges for businesses in India, such as data privacy and localization as well as the ever-controversial H1B visas.

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Source: Forbes

India and the US must utilise the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to resolve outstanding “trade frictions”, a top American business advocacy group said Sunday.

The US-India Business Council (USIBC) also said tariffs, forced localisation of data and other barriers to trade limit economic opportunities and adversely impact consumers in both the countries.

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Source : Business Standard