US official Alice Wells says India’s rising middle class could mean a demand for US exports

Alice Wells

Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice Wells says rising standards of living in India will drive demand for U.S. products, services and energy in the country.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice Wells says rising standards of living in India will drive demand for U.S. products, services and energy.

Wells claims the emergence of 350 million middle class consumers will drive Indian growth, while offering major opportunities for U.S. exports.

“Emerging middle-class consumers will have new demands in areas such as education, health care, and financial and professional services — fields where U.S. companies have much to offer … agricultural technology and projects can contribute to a diversified nutritional profile that can do much to advance public health in India,” she said addressing the U.S. India Business Council.

Wells says there is “extraordinary economic potential in the Indian market,” in particular in aviation-related trade. She cited recent Boeing aircraft purchases by SpiceJet and Jet Airways as indicators.

The energy sector is another area with tremendous opportunities. Wells denoted India is the third largest energy consumer in the world, behind China and the U.S. India will “remain one of the largest energy consumers for decades to come,” she said.

Indian companies are increasing their purchases of U.S. crude oil. In addition, several Indian firms are investing in U.S. liquefied natural gas to meet demand. India’s state gas utility signed a 20-year supply agreement with U.S.-based Cheniere Energy. The first delivery of multiple shipments has already taken place.

“Many have questioned how ‘Make America Great’ here and Made in India can be compatible, and indeed, we do need to do more to balance the U.S. trade deficit with India. She says the trade deficit totaled nearly $30 billion in 2016.

“Rising standards of living in India will drive demand for U.S. products, services and energy that can help Indians live healthier and more productive lives. And that will in turn create more growth in India,” added Wells.

Issues such as tariff and non-tariff barriers, subsidies, bureaucratic policies, investment restrictions and intellectual property concerns are being discussed between the State Department, USTR and the Commerce Department.

“We’re committed to a trade relationship that promotes prosperity in both our countries by ensuring that it’s fair and reciprocal,” Wells added.

Wells previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. She also had stints as a senior adviser in the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau in the Department of State and as Special Assistant to the President for Russia and Central Asia in the White House. She has serve din roles under Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Executive Assistant under Secretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns.

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