Deputy chief of mission of the US Embassy Micheal Pelletier on Monday said to increase the volume of bilateral trade, India and US must work together overtime.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of a conference, Investing, Trading, Studying and Traveling to the United States, organised at the CII Headquarters in Chandigarh.
“At present, the trade between India and US stands at 104 billion and the trade has only been increasing rapidly in the past few years. According to the goal set by Vice-President Joe Biden, the two countries must aim at reaching 500 billion with respect to the trade activities,” said Pelletier.
Laying stress on employment and investment opportunities, he added: “Indian-owned companies in the US employ 44,000 people and contribute 2 billion dollars to US exports. The United States has also launched the Select USA initiative to encourage more foreign investors to set base in our country. And over the years, India has been among the largest delegations at these summits.”
Further talking about the increasing number of students turning to the US for higher education, Pelletier said: “India is the second largest sender of students to the United States and when these students come back to India, they help in strengthening the ties between India and US. The number of Indians availing higher education in the US is rapidly rising and a 29 percent growth has been registered.”
He also said 69 per cent of H1B and 29 per cent of H1N1 visas were given to Indians and the US government is constantly working towards enhancing facilities to grant early visas to Indians. Last year, one million Indian visa applications were processed for the United States.
Addressing a breakout session on Promoting India-US Partnership in Business & Industry, Paul Frost, commercial officer, US Embassy, said: “Commercial services offered by the US Embassy include match-making services for US and Indian businessmen on the lines of increasing bilateral cooperation as well as working towards better trade relationships.”
At the session on travel tourism and promoting education, the representatives from US Embassy, India Educational Foundation and Brand USA India highlighted a hassle-free process to avail the opportunities in the areas of education, tourism and visa application process.
Talking about possible ties in education, R M Khanna, chairman, CII Northern Region said: “Good diplomacy is having good business, which is exactly what India and US should aspire for in all aspects. One key area where the US can help India is by helping with the education sector.
The US has the finest of schools and institutions in higher education that should set up a base in India to help in imparting better educations to students in India.” He also highlighted the need for relaxation of visa norms for Indians in US and added how Indians have constantly contributed in improving economy of the United States.
Through its USA to Go outreach programme, the US Embassy aims to create awareness among leaders throughout North India about opportunities for engagement in the US.