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‘Infra sector to be main focus area for Indo-US commerce ties’

Infra sector to be main focus area for Indo US commerce ties A lot of “good ground work” has been covered, post Obama-Modi meet in the US, and now is the execution time, with infrastructure going to be the focus of the Indo-US commerce ties, a top official has said.

“In the joint statement, one of the big focus areas is infrastructure sector,” Arun M Kumar, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the US and Foreign Commercial Service in the US Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, said.

He was referring to the India-US joint statement issued after the September 30 meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama.

There is an “enthusiastic” response from the US companies, he noted. Appreciative of the steps being taken by the new Indian government in “improving” the business climate in the country, he said, there were a lot of areas where improvement are required. Land acquisition is one of them, he said.

“We have seen determination (by the new government) to move forward. We definitely want to build the momentum of our interaction with the new Indian Government in the last few months,” he said.

The September visit of Modi to the US and his meeting with Obama at the White House, he said, was very successful.

“We are ready to engage,” Kumar said.

“We are very excited about the infrastructure collaboration,” he added.

“I think, we have covered a lot of good ground work. Now it is execution time,” he said.

American companies have a lot of good technologies and practices to offer in the infrastructure sector, said Kumar who is now headed for his third trip to India, the last one was along with the New Delhi visit of the Secretary of State John Kerry and the Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker.

He was one of the first few top US officials to visited India after the formation of the Modi Government.

The Commerce Department is expected to play a key role in Indo-US ties now that Modi-Obama meeting agreed to take their bilateral business and trade ties to USD 500 billion from the current USD 100 billion.

“It is doable and achievable. We have just scratched the surface of our bilateral trade potential,” he said in response to a question, adding that this needs a lot of action, simplification of various areas of investment, improvement in ease of doing business.