• Wednesday, April 24, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

US treasury secretary hails India as biggest trading partner, calls for ‘friendshoring’: ‘We depend on each other on daily basis’

US treasury secretary Janet Yellen addresses the media during a news conference on the second day of the second meeting of the G20 finance and cntral bank deputies under Indias G20 presidency in Bengaluru on February 23, 2023. (Photo by MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Terming India as the biggest trading partner, US treasury secretary Janet Yellen on Saturday (25) pitched for advancing an approach called “friendshoring” to bolster the resilience of supply chains.

As US president Joe Biden has said, India is an indispensable partner to his country, Yellen said while addressing a roundtable with US and Indian tech business leaders on the sidelines of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meeting in Bengaluru.

“The US is India’s biggest trading partner. In 2021, our bilateral trade was over USD 150 billion. Our people-to-people ties affirm the closeness of our relationship. 200,000 Indians are studying in America and enriching our schools and universities. We depend on each other on a daily basis: Indians use WhatsApp to communicate and many American companies rely on Infosys to operate,” she said.

The roundtable was attended by top tech honchos, including Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani, IBM India managing director Sandip Patel, Intel India country head Nivruti Rai, Foxconn India country head Josh Foulger and Wipro chairman Rishad Premji.

“As we look towards the future, I am eager to deepen our ties in the technology sector. The United States is advancing an approach called “friendshoring” to bolster the resilience of our supply chains. We are doing this by strengthening integration with our many trusted trading partners – including India. We are seeing progress; as an example, technology companies like Apple and Google have expanded their phone production in India,” she said.

The US in its new ‘friendshoring’ approach is diversifying away from countries that present geopolitical and security risks to our supply chain. Friendshoring approach involves partnering with developing countries to grow local industries and connect them to the global supply chain.

Through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, or PGII, she said, the US is investing in digital technologies that will drive inclusive, resilient growth in India.

Under PGII, she said, the United States has announced investments in agri-tech to enable climate-smart agricultural production, and in digital payments systems for microentrepreneurs.

These stand alongside investments in renewable energy, health, and other infrastructure sectors in India, she said, adding, the US aims to mobilise USD 200 billion through 2027 for PGII, and look forward to partnering with India to continue investing in its future.

During the roundtable, Nilekani said Infosys has opened new centres in six different American states in the last few year and hired 25,000 workers there in the last six years.

“We have focused heavily on localisation in the US. Total global workforce is 3,30,000. We have built a 160,000 square feet world class training centre in Indianapolis. We hired 7,000 fresh graduates this year. Our aim is to pick young, talented people, including from community colleges, and invest in their training,” he said.

Infosys runs India’s tax systems, he said, adding, the back-end of the entire direct and indirect tax system is run by the company. India file 79 million income tax returns, refunds happen in a matter of days all in a paperless manner.

(PTI)

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