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Committed to bilateral investment treaty with India,says US

These are complicated issues that will take some time to work through,says Obama.

Written by Press Trust Of India | Washington |
March 12, 2013 9:11:08 am

The US has said it is committed to a bilateral investment treaty with India,but suggested that setting a time-frame for the same could not be possible as due to time-taking and complicated nature of negotiations.

“We remain committed to a bilateral investment treaty with India and look forward to holding additional positive and productive technical discussions on a treaty with the Indian Government as quickly as possible,” Caitlin Hayden,spokesperson of the National Security Council,said.

“These are complicated issues that will take some time to work through,but both sides have committed ourselves to doing so in a thorough manner,” she said,adding the Obama Administration attaches importance to its economic ties with India.

She said the US views economic relationship with India as one of its “most important”,and is “actively working” to ensure that both countries are able to lay the groundwork for future opportunities.

Her remarks gain significance in view of the recent news reports that the Obama Administration has set in motion an ambitious global round of trade talks covering Europe and much of Asia,which is bound to influence countries such as China,India and Brazil.Group of top American Senators and US India Business

Council (USIBC),representing American companies doing business in India,have been aggressively pushing for a BIT with India.

“An investment treaty between India and the US will provide protection to Indian and American investors alike from arbitrary,discriminatory,or confiscatory government measures,enforceable by recourse to independent international arbitration,” USIBC president Ron Somers said in a recent letter to Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

“Such a treaty could help facilitate two-way investment in infrastructure and other areas where capital outlay is welcome and would provide protections to Indian and American companies as they expand investments overseas,” Somers said.

USIBC continues to work with global companies to generate momentum toward expeditious completion of negotiations of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) program,he added.Last year a group of Senators led by Senator Mark Warner,Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus,had written a letter to the US President,Barack Obama,to accelerate process for the bilateral investment treaty.

A November report released by CSIS,a Washington-based think tank,said the treaty will yield clear benefit to both sides by reassuring each country’s private sector with morem certainty in entering the other country’s market.

It will provide India with much-needed foreign direct investment,create jobs on both sides and building stronger ties between the two countries,the report said.

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