WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick arrived late last night for three days of meetings with senior Indian Government officials and private sector leaders. He will continue discussions begun in July with the Indian Government on ways in which the two countries can strengthen their trade and economic relationship.
"As the world's largest democracy, India is very important to the United States and to the global trading system. During my trip I want to listen and to learn. I hope to gain a clear understanding of India's perspective and interest in the upcoming WTO ministerial at Doha in November," Zoellick said. "I also will discuss specific proposals for building our trade relationship."
This trip builds on Zoellick's visits to Asia, Latin America, and Europe earlier this year and underscores the importance the Bush Administration places on its ties with India. Zoellick is the first Cabinet official in the Bush Administration to visit India and the first U.S. Trade Representative to visit India in more than a decade.
"With the economic reforms of the last decade, India is emerging as an important player in the global trading system," said Zoellick.
In addition to his meetings with government officials, Zoellick will hold discussions with Indian business leaders, including those in the information technology sector. "I am interested in learning more about India's IT sector, which is contributing remarkably to India's economic development and to the growing economic linkages between the United States and India," Zoellick said.
Zoellick will also visit a USAID supported children's shelter which provides food, medical aid and vocational training. "While India's economic development and growth will help address serious poverty in the future, we hope U.S. support provides some immediate relief to those in need."
Goods and services trade between the United States and India totaled more than $17 billion last year. Trade is a vital element of President Bush's economic plan, which recognizes that trade creates economic growth and development, as well as new and better jobs.