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Hillary,Mamata discussed FDI in retail,says US

The US embassy said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the issues on increasing US investment in West Bengal

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi/kolkata | Published: May 8, 2012 3:51 am

The US embassy on Monday said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the issues on increasing US investment in West Bengal,including in the “retail sector”,during her meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. This was in contrast with Banerjee saying earlier in the day in Kolkata that FDI in retail was not discussed.

In a special release,the embassy said,“Touching on issues ranging from increasing US investment in West Bengal,including in the retail sector,US-India relations,regional affairs and strong people-to-people connections,the Secretary reaffirmed to Chief Minister Banerjee the US desire to work with India and West Bengal to deepen and broaden our partnership.”

“The Secretary expressed the hope that Kolkata would become an important hub in the new Silk Road Strategy to connect the countries of East,South and Central Asia,” it said.

It also said Clinton “enjoyed a warm,vibrant and energetic discussion” with Banerjee.

The West Bengal Chief Minister,after her meeting with Clinton in Kolkata,claimed that her one-on-one meeting with Clinton had been “positive,constructive,concrete and creative”,with the promise of America selecting the state as its “partner” for investment.

While Clinton had told the media in Kolkata prior to the meeting that issues like foreign direct investment in retail and the Teesta water sharing treaty were on the agenda,Banerjee told reporters these did not come up for discussion.

The CM also claimed Clinton had praised her government’s “passion for work” and said the US Secretary of State was happy at the change the state had witnessed after three decades (of Left rule).

They discussed investment in sectors such as information technology,health,education,tourism and technology transfer. Banerjee said she had told Clinton that the state government was “trying to overcome a $40 billion debt burden”.

Another issue that came up was coordination between Hollywood,Bollywood and Tollywood film industries.

“Bengal is now a major destination for cultural tourism. I informed Clinton that we are going to organise a world youth festival to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. She said she would speak to the Chicago Mayor so that some joint programmes could be held,” Banerjee said.

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