The United States’ trade with India was growing twice as fast as that with China which sends a powerful message across the world that this bilateral relationship was deepening, a top US Senator has said. Rob Portman also called for removing trade and non-tariff barriers, which he felt was an “impediment” to growth of bilateral trade. The senator was speaking at the inaugural Annual Leadership Summit of the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF). “I think, we have ways to go (in bilateral trade). But let me give you a good news story. The USD 126 billion (in bilateral trade) today is 370 per cent increase in trade between our two countries since 2005.Trade with China has also increased (during the same period), but only by 174 per cent,” Portman said. “So, if I look at it, US-India trade is growing twice as fast as US-China (trade). This I think is only one indicator but interesting one to show the deepening of the relationship,” he said. Portman asserted that the opportunity to grow this relationship is “tremendous” as India is world’s seventh largest economy of the world. The Republican Senator from Ohio said more than 100 Indian companies have created more than 1,00,000 jobs in the US. Similarly, US companies have invested USD 26 billion in India, as per 2016 figures.Portman said the opportunity was here to address some of the longstanding trade issues between the two countries, especially as they look more broadly at the importance of strategic and geo political relationship. In his remarks he also called for addressing the issue of intellectual property rights. “I think that sends a powerful message to the rest of the world that US-India relationship is deepening and that it is one that has strategic importance well beyond trade,” Portman said. “It will be beneficial to Indian economy, certainly to our economy and our exports, if we can address these issues in the context with GSP,” he said. “We have come a long way and we have a long way to go,” he said. Portman said there is a “tremendous interest and appetite” in deepening this relationship.