Page 55 - IACC Newsletter March-April 2014 Issue 03

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The trade deficit stood at $11.23 billion in May, up from $10.09 billion in April, data released by the ministry of
commerce and industry showed. While trade gap grew compared with April, the year-on-year trend was more
encouraging. Exports in May jumped 12.4 percent from a year earlier to $28 billion, while imports were down 11.41
percent to $11.23 billion helped by a 72 per cent drop in global gold purchases.
India is the world’s second-biggest gold buyer and the government is under pressure from the industry to loosen
restrictions. The commerce secretary said the trade ministry was in favor of “rationalizing” the import duty and that
there was a clear view that “normality” needed to be restored to gold imports.
The commerce secretary said he also favored opening up agricultural exports, where possible, but added the
government was ready to intervene if needed to contain onion and milk prices, key drivers of India’s volatile food
inflation. With better economic activity in the US, Indian exports are likely to stay on a reasonably better.
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‘Maritime security cooperation key to Indo-US ties’
US Consul General, Chennai, Jennifer McIntyre, has termed maritime security operation as a key component of defence
and strategic cooperation between India and the United States.
“Our defence relationship today encompasses military-to-military dialogues, exercises, defence sales, professional
military education exchanges and practical cooperation,” she said while delivering the keynote address at the maritime
trade and security conference, ‘Sea Change: Evolving Maritime Geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific Region’, here on Thursday.
Ms. McIntyre said the stretch of sea from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific was one of the most vibrant trade and energy
routes, linking world economies and driving development and prosperity. However, India’s increasing economic bonds
with its neighbours in Southeast Asia notwithstanding, the region remained the least economically connected.
“Improved linkages and infrastructure investments between the economies of South Asia and Southeast Asia will be a
critical component to integrating regional markets; accelerating economic development; and strengthening regional
stability,” she said.
Maritime connectivity, she reckoned, was essential for India’s peace and prosperity as it was for the US. “We both gain
from greater commercial interactions with and between the countries in the Asia-Pacific region.”
To this end, the US was working within Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as part of its ongoing rebalance
towards Asia, to promote energy cooperation, private sector investments, educational exchange, and to reduce barriers
to trade and investment, to improve connectivity and to support sustainable growth.
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Nisha Biswal’s statement to the press outside of the Ministry of External Affairs
New Delhi | June 9, 2014
Hello. Good afternoon. I’m here with Ambassador Kathy Stephens who is here as our Charge, as our Ambassador in
New Delhi. She arrived just a couple days ago. We’re here having some wonderful meetings and consultations with the
Government of India. The United States is very committed to the U.S.-India relationship. And this is an opportunity for
us to hear the priorities and the opportunities that the new government is seeking in terms of their desire for this
relationship. United States is very excited about the opportunity ahead and the road ahead because we see the
resounding mandate with which this government has come in, with which Prime Minister Modi has come in, and the
hopes and the aspirations of the Indian people. The United States wants to partner with India in meeting those hopes
and aspirations and we look forward to working together in the months and the years ahead. So, this is an opportunity
for us to hear from the government on their agenda and their priorities. Question: What are the dates for the Modi
visit? I think these are conversations that are being worked out between our two governments. The president in his first
conversation with the Prime Minister invited him and welcomed him to Washington. And we look forward to that at a
mutually convenient date, and we’re working to see what that would be. Thank you very much.