US ambassador affirms support for free trade deal with India

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The US ambassador to India has expressed a continued desire for a free trade deal between the nations.

The new US ambassador to India has affirmed the country's desire for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the nations, although it was accepted that considerable progress still needs to be made before this can become a reality.

During his inaugural address at a Carnegie India event in New Delhi, Kenneth Juster outlined a number of key goals that the US is looking to achieve to strengthen its relationship with India, with liberalized trade highlighted as a key priority.

Bilateral trade between the US and India was valued at approximately $115 billion (€93.82 billion) in 2016, up from $20 billion dollars in 2001. However, Mr Juster said there is scope for this to increase further, particularly given the strained trade relationship between the US and China - which could position India as an alternative hub for US business.

According to the ambassador, by continuing to reform its trade policies and providing more opportunities for US businesses, India can enhance its links to the US market, which "could eventually lead to a roadmap for a US-India FTA".

He added: "A vision of where we want to go could help spur the resolution of many of today's trade and investment disputes and signal to international companies that India is fully open for business."