India Abroad

US Boosts India's Trading Partner Status Level, Easier Access To Latest Defence Technologies

| July 31 , 2018 , 11:21 IST

In a significant move in boosting ties between India and the US, the United States on Monday elevated India's status as a trading partner to equal that granted usually to its NATO allies. The change in status would speed up the sale of high-tech defence and non-defence products that would otherwise be subjected to strict controls and licensing.

“We have granted to India Strategic Trade Authorization status STA-1 that’s (a) very important status under our export control regime and acknowledges US-India security and economic relationship,” said US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum.

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Ross added that the new status would provide India “greater supply chain efficiency, both for defence, and for other high-tech products” and that the lack of the status has affected nearly $9.7 billion worth of goods India could have exported from the US over the last seven years.

So far, the US has given the STA-1 status to only 36 countries, out of which most are NATO or key non-NATO allies. Ross indicated that the elevated status reflected India's relation with the US as a 'major defence partner', a designation that the US has so far not used for any other country.

According to experts, based on the current exports from the US to India, 50 percent are eligible under the STA-1 which would free up a further $2.1 billion in trade, making US exporters more competitive in the global marketplace and providing India with more advanced technology.

The STA-1 status for India comes soon after India finalised its decision to go in for a missile defence system from the US to protect parts of the national capital of Delhi.

US and India are scheduled to have their first ever 2+2 dialogue between US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis and their Indian counterparts, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defense Nirmala Sitharaman on September 6 in New Delhi.