500 Billion The Roadmap Report


March 17, 2020


A target of $500 billion in two-way trade has come to be a shorthand for the aspirations of policymakers and industry leaders focused on growing the U.S.-India commercial partnership. USIBC Chairman Terry McGraw first unveiled the $500 billion target in 2012, and the idea took on momentum following then-Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the Mumbai Stock Exchange in 2013. The timing was no accident—U.S.-India trade figures quintupled in the first decade of the 2000s, demonstrating the relationship’s vast potential.

Since 2014, when the U.S.-India Joint Statement formally cemented $500 billion as a shared bilateral goal, U.S.-India bilateral goods and services trade has grown from $105 billion to $142 billion. In 2018, the U.S. and India ranked as each other’s ninth and third largest trade partners, respectively. Recent reforms have catapulted India’s standing in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking to 77th globally—the top ranked country in South Asia—and a sweeping slate of economic reforms unveiled by the Modi 2.0 government promises to make trade and investment by foreign companies easier than ever. The outlook is bright for business in India.

Still, more progress is needed to unleash the full potential of the economic relationship. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) and our members stand ready to work with stakeholders to address existing challenges. Together, we focus on connecting businesses and governments to address barriers to trade, accelerate investment, enhance cooperation and make ‘$500 Billion’ a reality.

As the United States and India continue to bolster strategic, defense and people-to-people ties, we believe it is critical for the two countries to address trade irritants proactively to avoid casting a shadow on the positive trajectory of the U.S.-India partnership. We have held extensive consultations with industry executives, thought leaders, and policy experts, and created a roadmap of recommendations to share with our respective governments and the larger global business community.

Innovation in both new and existing industries—and support in both countries to help businesses thrive and grow—will be key to delivering on this longstanding goal. We see boundless opportunity for collaboration in the digital economy, aerospace and defense, energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors, all driven by next-level technology and innovation and cemented by our shared values and people-to-people ties. In this report, we provide an assessment of current trends in U.S.-India trade and the policy moves that will push the relationship towards faster growth, as well as several case studies of growth in areas outside of the traditional industry verticals. We hope that government officials, industry leaders and independent policy analysts alike will find this assessment useful as we work to achieve our shared goal of $500 billion.

Read the report