US Commerce Secy meets Meera Shankar

Washington: Ahead of his India visit with a high-powered trade mission, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Wednesday met Indian Ambassador to the US Meera Shankar during which he advocated for US fighter aircraft manufacturers and increasing American exports to India.

"During the meeting, Locke advocated for US fighter aircraft manufacturers, emphasizing that the US government views high technology defence sales as a cornerstone of the US-India strategic partnership and that the United States is a willing and capable defense partner," the Commerce Department said after the meeting.

Locke and Shankar discuss bilateral trade and investment issues. The meeting took place as Locke prepares to lead a high technology business development trade mission to India on February 6-11.

Over 70 companies applied to participate in the upcoming mission, which will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, in order to promote US exports of high technology products and services in key economic sectors: civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation, and information and communications technology, the statement said.

US exports of goods to India are up 15.2 per cent through the first 10 months of 2010 and projected to surpass USD 19 billion for the entire year, an all-time high.

Advanced technologies, including aerospace, specialized materials, information and communications technologies, electronics and flexible manufacturing systems underpinned this growth.

Overall US exports to India were USD 16.4 billion in 2009, making India the 17th largest export market. Exports to India through October 2010 reached approximately USD 16.1 billion, the statement said.