n a significant calibration of the India-US economic and strategic engagement, Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and the US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Friday relaunched the Commercial Dialogue. It commits the two nations on a proactive course of action towards building resilient and secure supply chains in post-pandemic economic recovery, especially for Small and Medium Enterprises and startups.
The Commercial Dialogue has been a part of ongoing efforts to strengthen the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership and the re-scripted 5th Commercial Dialogue 2023 only builds on the “strategic trade dialogue” launched by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Secretary Raimondo. This will address export controls, explore ways of enhancing high technology commerce and facilitate technology transfer between the two countries. In this context a major outcome of the US-India dialogue is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing semiconductor supply chain and innovation partnership under the framework of Dialogue. In a win-win recognition of the importance of US and Indian markets to the global electronics industry, Secretary Raimondo and Minister Goyal intend to utilize the Commercial Dialogue to enhance public and private efforts to promote industry cooperation in the semiconductor sector.
A Semiconductor Sub-committee under the Commercial Dialogue, led by the Department of Commerce for the US side and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Ministry of Commerce and Industry for the Indian side is expected to convene its first engagement in advance of any Commercial Dialogue mid-year review and review recommendations from the joint industry led task force launched in connection with the iCET
The recently launched US-India initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), welcomed by both Goyal and the Secretary has paved way for expanded strategic technology partnership between the governments, businesses, and academic institutions of the two countries. The Minister and the Secretary will push this collaboration to support iCET’s vision to build a trusted technology value chain partnership between the countries and make possible greater cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, co-development and co-production, and connectivity across our innovation ecosystems.
This round of the Dialogue comes opportunely amidst an almost doubling of the bilateral goods and services trade since 2014 and surpassing the USD 191 billion recorded in 2022. A high-level business delegation of US CEOs for the CEO Forum led by Secretary Raimondo is also focusing on shared strategic priorities in an outcome-oriented way. Laying out an ambitious roadmap by both the Ministers to enhance their commercial collaboration, the Joint Statement issued by both sides, commits India and the USA on creating an environment for investment by MSMEs and startups and facilitating collaboration between their SMEs which, as both sides noted, are the lifeblood of the US and Indian economies.
To foster innovation ecosystems that facilitate their SMEs’ post-pandemic economic recovery and growth, a new Working Group on Talent, Innovation and Inclusive Growth is being set up to further cooperation on start-ups, SMEs, skill development and entrepreneurship including in digital and emergent technologies.
This working group would also support the efforts under iCET, particularly in identifying specific regulatory hurdles that hinder cooperation and fostering of greater connectivity between our innovation ecosystems (including tech start-ups). Besides, a re-launched Travel and Tourism Working Group will also support SMEs as travel and tourism sector comprises enterprises such as hotels, restaurants, travel agents and handicrafts.
Giving a boost to the energy cooperation amidst the Russia Ukraine conflict, the US side will send a senior government official-led Clean Energy and Environmental Technology Business Development Mission to India in 2024 to further foster
business partnerships in grid modernization, smart grid solutions, renewable energy, energy storage, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, and environmental technology solutions. A US-India Energy Industry Network (EIN) will serve as a broad platform for facilitating American industry involvement in the Clean EDGE Asia initiative which is the US Government’s plan to grow sustainable and secure clean energy markets throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Both Ministers also expressed interest in working together in developing next generation standards in telecommunications, including 6G. They anticipate efforts to include cooperation between relevant government agencies, standards organisations, and industry bodies. Finally, both sides intend to further work together in validation and deployment of trusted and secure next generation telecom network equipment, including Open RAN, as well as in subsequent generations of telecommunications infrastructure.