A new era of cooperation between the US and India was ushered in on July 18, 2005 in Washington DC when President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh concluded a set of far reaching initiatives which will pave the way for a closer economic and strategic partnership between the two countries at Government and at industry levels.
One of the initiatives taken was to form a US-India CEO Forum, comprising 10 selected CEOs from both countries, with a mandate to develop a road map for increased partnership and cooperation between the two countries at a business level. It was also envisaged that this joint Forum could identify issues which might be included in the Agenda for discussion between President Bush and Prime Minister Singh when they meet in New Delhi in March 2006.
With two-way trade growing at more than 20 percent annually, the business leaders offered a consensus view that the new economic partnership will present both countries with substantial opportunities to increase trade and investment activity, enhance market access for goods and services and develop greater competitiveness in both countries by leveraging their respective strengths.
The CEO Forum report identified 6 Major Areas for Cooperation, with initiatives that should be undertaken by the two Governments and/or by industry partnerships. These Areas would have the greatest impact on Economic Cooperation, as they impact multiple sectors. The Major Areas for Cooperation are:
The CEO Forum also defined 6 Priority Initiatives, drawn from within the report, as these could be implemented expeditiously:
The forum has also recommended a specific action plan for 15 business sectors with potential for significantly enhancing trade and investment after policy changes by the two governments. The forum also made a strong pitch for creating an enabling environment in 30 more areas to foster speed, efficiency, fairness and transparency in respect of all products, agricultural and manufacturing, over a specified period of time.