On July 29, USISPF and the United States Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) co-hosted a virtual roundtable featuring Congressman Ami Bera, Congressman George Holding, and Becca Gould, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at American Tower Corporation, moderated by Ambassador Miriam Sapiro. The discussion touched on many areas of opportunity for US-India trade relations, how to address outstanding challenges, and the importance of cooperation between the two countries in light of deteriorating relations with China and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Congressman Ami Bera spoke on the “endless” opportunities for the US and India to work together in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing in particular to the opportunities presented by India’s pharmaceutical and vaccine development sectors. Another area of opportunity that he discussed was the potential for partnerships between US and Indian universities and research institutions. He also noted that, while a trade agreement has not yet been reached, it seems “one step away from completion” and the fact that the dialogue on a trade agreement has continued despite distractions from geopolitical and public health crises is optimistic.
Congressman George Holding highlighted the bilateral nature of support for the US-India relationship in the US, and the strides that the two countries have made in deepening their economic ties and defense cooperation. In terms of the future of this relationship, he noted that deteriorating relations between the US and China present an opportunity to deepen ties with India, and spoke to the potential for a deeper partnership in areas such as education and telemedicine as the experience of COVID-19 has led to a greater ability and willingness to work online.
Becca Gould highlighted the importance of ‘mini-deals’ between the US and India that aren’t as widely publicized as a potential trade agreement but are “ongoing daily” as a result of continued dialogue between the two countries, noting recent success in defense synergy, connectivity, and maintaining pharmaceutical exports.