x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mumbai visit gives Obama some respite

Barack Obama's India trade announcement is good news for the US, as the world's largest economy cannot seem to shake high unemployment rates despite a general recovery.

The US President Barack Obama's announcement yesterday of US$10 billion (Dh36.72bn) in deals with India is good news for the US, as the world's largest economy cannot seem to shake high unemployment rates despite a general recovery.

Still smarting from a bruising mid-term election, which largely served as a referendum for his handling of the economy, Mr Obama needs to show the US he is pro-business and pro-employment - and both stances require boosting exports.

Against a backdrop of a US manufacturing base in decline and with US military spending levelling out, US companies are looking for international sales and Asian giants are high on the list.

India is also weighing a $4.5bn order for Boeing C-17 transport planes that would generate 22,000 jobs. Lockheed Martin and Boeing have also been shortlisted for a multibillion-dollar fighter jet contract, the size of which has not been seen for two decades.

Mr Obama is taking things further by lifting export controls of US technology and has removed India's defence and space organisations from the US "entities list", which stops them from doing business with the US.

He will be hoping to keep the good news rolling for the next nine days of a trip that includes stopovers in South Korea for the Group of 20 leading and emerging economies summit, and in Japan and Indonesia.

The news could have mixed results for the UAE. The growth of Indian airline fleets could create more competition for the country's airlines, although that might one day funnel more business into Abu Dhabi's aircraft maintenance operations.

igale@thenational.ae