Mumbai: The US Chamber of Commerce Wednesday said the upcoming '2+2 dialogue' between India and the US will deepen trade ties and help achieve the USD 500-billion bilateral trade volume target by 2025.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis from the US will be holding the first 2+2 dialogue with defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday.
"You can't do defence without economic strength and the 2+2 will set the groundwork for something that will not only improve our defence ties but will clearly take us towards the USD 500 billion (target)," said Thomas J Donohue, president and chief executive officer, US Chamber of Commerce.
"Security goes hand in hand with prosperity. Efforts to strengthen our security ties will help us as we work to tighten our economic ties," he said speaking at a US-India Business Council event.
He said after some difficulties, the trade ties between the two countries are in a state of "jog", at USD 125 billion now, but there is a need for them to "sprint".
"There is a general agreement in the US government that our relationship is a significant priority... India is at the centre of the administration's vision for seizing opportunities in Asia and truly worldwide," he added.
The dialogue in New Delhi will only act as a "further confirmation" of the same tomorrow, he said.
According to news reports, trade is not on the agenda for the 2+2 dialogue, even though there may be some mention on the ties.
Donohue said this is the first of its kind engagement for India; inclusion of India in a select list of countries like Japan, South Korea and Australia with whom the US is having such a dialogue makes the intentions very evident.
He said it is time for establishing a trade agreement between the two countries and pointed out that such a pact will particularly help the startups thrive in the innovation economy of the future.
"The pact can specifically help establish more power for intellectual property rights and also a rules-based system," he added.
Donohue said both Washington DC and New Delhi need to work on many facets in order to leverage the trade potential.
He said India needs to continue unleashing more free market oriented reforms which will make it easier for companies to invest and operate in the country.
For the US, Donohue pointed out that his home country needs to be more open in welcoming immigrants, especially the high-skilled ones.
He said the US is staring at "demographic pain" in the future and while it will work at re-skilling the domestic work force, it will have to rethink on its immigration policies for being more open.