Washington: Describing India as a friend ‘critical to America's success’, a leading US Presidential aspirant has underlined the need for Washington to immediately start discussion with it on a bilateral free trade pact.

"Washington must also immediately start discussions with India to end in a bilateral free trade agreement strengthening our relationship with a friend who will prove to be critical to America’s success in the 21st century," said Republican presidential aspirant Jon Huntsman.

A former governor of Utah, Huntsman served the first two years of the Obama administration as top American diplomat to China.

"It is in the strategic interest of the United States to reach trade agreements with the world’s largest economies that share our values," he said in a major policy speech on “job plan” in the country.

Huntsman came out with a number of proposals to boost American economy and creation of employment in the country. His 12-page outline called for pursuing new trade opportunities, particularly across the Pacific, among his key proposals.

"Thus, the United States should take the lead in initiating free trade agreements with Japan, India and Taiwan, among others. We must begin to send a message to the world that we will once again lead on trade liberalization," the proposal said.

Although discussions have stalled, the US should urge completion of the multi-lateral negotiations aimed at promoting free trade between nations of varying prosperity, which will benefit both developed and developing nations, Huntsman said in his proposal.

Huntsman formally entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination on June 21, 2011, announcing his bid in a speech at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Huntsman also called for repeal of the contentious 'Dodd-Frank' Act as he argued that Dodd-Frank perpetuates “too big to fail” by codifying a regime that incentivizes companies to become too big to fail, guaranteeing slow credit and slow productivity gains for the near future.

"Above all, people need jobs. As we gather this afternoon, 14 million of our fellow Americans are unemployed. Millions more are so dispirited they’ve given up looking," he said in his speech.

"The United States cannot compete with the second-highest business tax rate in the developed world. So I propose lowering it from 35 to 25 percent – 1 point lower than the OECD average," said the Republican presidential aspirant.

He also underlined the need for the immediate implementation for a tax holiday for repatriation of corporate profits earned overseas, "making between USD 400 billion and USD 600 billion available to companies to make capital investments," Huntsman said.

(Agencies)