Share Your Thoughts
Prime Minister Modi, I want to thank you again—both for your invitation to join you on this incredible Republic Day and the wonderful hospitality that you’ve shown me over the past two days. Today’s ceremonies and parade were truly spectacular. It was a moving tribute to India’s founding, its democracy, its progress.
As I said yesterday, even as this visit is rich with symbolism, it’s also a visit of great substance. We’re advancing the vision that I laid out on my last visit—India and the United States as true global partners. And a core element of this vision is greater trade, investment and economic partnership. We can grow and we can prosper together, and establish a set of global norms in terms of how business is done that will benefit not just our two countries, but people around the world. And when I spoke to you on my last visit, I pledged to broaden and deepen our economic ties—and that’s what we’ve done.
In the last few years, we’ve increased trade between our countries by some 60 percent. Today, it’s nearly $100 billion a year —which is a record high. And this is a win-win. It’s a win for America and our workers because U.S. exports to India are up nearly 35 percent, and those exports support about 170,000 well-paying American jobs. At the same time, Indian investment in our country is growing, as well. And those Indian investments are supporting jobs across America.
And our growing trade is a win for India, because increased U.S. exports and investment here mean more American-made planes flying passengers on India’s airlines all over the world, more American-made turbines generating the energy India needs to continue with its growth, more American-made machinery upgrading India’s infrastructure. And because we’ve made it easier for foreign companies to sell and invest in America, India’s exports to the United States are also increasing—and that means more jobs and opportunities here in India. In the end, that’s the purpose of trade and investment—to deliver a better life for our people. And both Indian and American workers are and can benefit even more in the future from close ties between our two countries.
So we’re moving in the right direction. That said, we all know that the U.S.-India economic relationship is also defined by so much untapped potential. Of all America’s imports from the world, about 2 percent come from India. Of all of America’s exports to the world, just over 1 percent go to India —1 percent to over a billion people. We do about $100 billion a year in trade with India, which is a great improvement since I took office. But we do about $560 billion a year with China. That gives you some sense of the potential both for the kind of growth that India might unleash, and the potential for greater trade between our two countries. So I think everybody here will agree, we’ve got to do better. I know Prime Minister Modi agrees, and he just shared his expansive vision on this issue with you.
As we announced yesterday, we’ve taken a number of concrete steps forward on this visit. New breakthroughs will help us overcome some key issues and move us toward fully implementing our civil-nuclear agreement. We’ve taken another big step forward in our defense cooperation with a new technology and trade initiative so that Indian and American companies can jointly develop and produce new defense technologies. We’ve agreed to resume discussions that would move us toward a bilateral investment treaty that would facilitate Indian businesses making more investments in the United States, and U.S. businesses making more investments here in India.
And we’ve agreed to step up our efforts with a new high-level U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue to make sure we’re taking concrete steps that build on our progress so that when two leaders share a vision and make agreements, we know that our agencies, our bureaucracies will follow through aggressively and we can hold them accountable. Prime Minister Modi, I want to thank you for your personal commitment to helping us advance all of these efforts.
Today, I’m proud to announce additional steps—a series of United States initiatives that will generate more than $4 billion in trade and investment with India and support thousands of jobs in both of our countries. Specifically, over the next two years, our Export-Import Bank will commit up to $1 billion in financing to support “Made-in-America” exports to India. And Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will support lending to small and medium businesses across India that we anticipate will ultimately result in more than $1 billion in loans in underserved rural and urban markets. And our U.S. Trade and Development Agency will aim to leverage nearly $2 billion in investments in renewable energy in India.
So we’re moving forward. There’s new momentum, there’s new energy, new hope that we can finally begin to realize the full potential of our economic relationship. And I want to close by suggesting several specific areas where we need to focus.
First, we have to keep working to make it easier to do business together in both our countries. Prime Minister Modi has initiated reforms, including a new government committee dedicated to fast-tracking American investments. And we enthusiastically support these efforts. We need to be incentivizing trade and investment, not stifling it.
Second, we can work together to develop new technologies that help India leap forward. And I know I speak for the American companies represented here when they say they’re ready to partner with Indian firms to build next-generation trains that run on cleaner energy and to lay the new railways India needs for the future. They’re ready to help upgrade roads and ports and airports to make it easier for Indians to connect with each other and with the world. They’re ready to install broadband connections to give communities reliable access to the Internet and to help build the smart cities that Prime Minister Modi has called for.
And finally, we need to make sure that economic growth in both our countries is inclusive and sustained. India’s astonishing growth in recent decades has lifted countless millions out of poverty and created one of the world’s largest middle classes. There’s an important lesson in that. Growth, in the end, has to make people’s lives better in real, tangible and lasting ways.
I know the Prime Minister has expressed his commitment. You have the commitment of the President of the United States and my administration. I’m looking forward to working with all of you. The next time I come to India, I expect we will have made more progress.
Abridged for space constraints