President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi today addressed over 100 CEOs at the US-India Business Summit, and made a pitch for more bilateral trade that the two leaders said was currently way under potential.
"You will find environment that is open and welcoming," said Modi. He highlighted some of the reforms, including ordinances, that have made it easier to do business in India. "Our aim is to be in top 50 nations in ease of doing business," he said. That's an ambitious target given that currently India's ranking is a lowly 142nd out of 189 countries in the World Bank's 'Ease of Business' report.
Obama acknowledged that there is a lot of ground to cover. "We are moving in the right direction. There is still untapped potential that we have not realised," he said.
Obama announced that the Exim Bank will provide $1 billion for financing projects, and the US Trade and Investment Development Agency will put in $2 billion for renewable energy projects. "We want to see more trade and more investment between the two countries that will benefit our people," Obama said.
Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $61.64 billion in 2013-14. India has received $13.28 billion in FDI from the US between April 2000 and November 2014. That is way less in comparison with trade between the US and China, valued at over $500 billion.
Modi also talked about steps that his government has taken since assuming power in May 2014. These include relaxed foreign investment caps in various sectors such as defence, insurance and pharmaceuticals.