US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew expressed his country’s commitment to support growth and reforms in India and encourage greater opening of the Indian economy to US firms.
“I hope we can work together to deepen capital markets to unlock domestic resources and welcome foreign investment into India, strengthen financial regulatory reform, improve our coordination on tax issues, and combat money laundering and terrorist financing,” Lew said.
Marking the first high-level visit by a US official after President Barack Obama’s second India visit last month, Lew addressed captains of Indian industry at a roundtable organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the US-India Business Council, ahead of the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue scheduled for Thursday in New Delhi.
Giving an overview of the US economy, he said that in the past five years, its private sector has created more than 11 million jobs and last year, American businesses created three million with the unemployment rate now at 5.7 percent.
Simultaneously, the GDP posted strong gains in the second and third quarters last year with private forecasters projections of above-trend economic growth to continue, Lew said.
“Our overall growth has been supported by increases in household wealth, a gradually improving housing market, a growing manufacturing sector, and a flourishing auto industry.
“The growth we are experiencing in the United States is good for India, just as growth in India is good for the United States. And, India and the United States are two important drivers of global growth,” Lew said.
The trade between India and the US stood at a record high — nearly $100 billion a year — and strengthening growth in both countries would lead to more demands, more opportunities, for firms and workers.
Welcoming Lew, Mahindra Group chairman and USIBC board member Anand Mahindra said that at this critical time of revival in the Indian economy, now more than ever, a strong economic and financial partnership with the US was critical for ensuring vibrant growth and success in both countries.
“The business community commends Secretary Lew for his commitment to meaningful dialogue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the Indian private sector,” Mahindra said.
Later, Lew was closeted in a closed-door session with top business leaders like Anil Ambani, Swati Piramal, Adi Godrej, Sanjay Nayar and Rajiv Lall among others.
The exclusive gathering allowed for a frank discussion between India’s key business leaders and Lew on the global and Indian economy and business climate, with a focus on policies to propel manufacturing, infrastructure, and investment growth in both countries, a CII spokesperson said.