US and India agree on new economic partnership

US and India agree on new economic partnership

Washington: The United States and India will establish a new economic partnership which US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner will help formally launch in India early next year, the White House said on Tuesday.

The new partnership aims to strengthen economic ties between the two nations and echoes the strategic economic dialogue Washington established with China in 2006.

US President Barack Obama, hosting his first state visit since taking office in January, earlier met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said that the world’s largest democracy would be a key source for US growth.

“India will play a pivotal role in meeting the major challenges we face today. And this includes my top economic priority: creating good jobs with good wages for the American people," he told a joint White House press conference.

The Treasury said the new partnership represented “a significant elevation" of the existing bilateral economic relationship between the two countries.

“India is an emerging global power and a country with which the United States has an increasingly important economic and financial relationship," Geithner said in a statement.

Representatives will meet annually at cabinet level, alternately in the United States and India, with working groups getting together throughout the year to push ahead on specific economic policy areas.

The Chinese-US forum, created by Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, gathers twice a year.

The United States had a modest $3.2 billion trade deficit with India in the year to September, compared with its $165.8 billion trade gap with China.

Singh echoed Obama’s hope the two countries could build a mutually beneficial economic relationship. He said the transfer of advance technology could open doors for U.S. investment into fast-growing Indian markets.

“The lifting of US export controls on high technology exports to India will open vast opportunities for giant research and development efforts," said Singh, after Obama reaffirmed that he intended to fully implement a civil nuclear agreement between the two nations.

“It will enable US industry to benefit from the rapid economic and technological transformation that is now underway in our country," Singh said.