India, U.S. To Remove Hurdles In Business, Investments

New Delhi: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for removing  "impediments" to doing business with India and noted that India-U.S. economic cooperation had grown five-fold in the past five years to surpass $100 billion.

Addressing a joint media interaction with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid at the Hyderabad House, Kerry said both sides in their talks had discussed "impediments" to foreign investment and they were assured "that India is taking important steps" to address their concerns, and the U.S. too was doing likewise to address India's concerns.

"Trade between India and U.S. has grown fivefold just in the years of the Obama administration. Investments between our countries have grown by 10 percent. Both can do even more, we can break down trade and investment barriers," Kerry said.

He said both sides would have a joint CEOs forum in Washington which Commerce Minister Anand Sharma would attend.

Kerry, who is visiting India for the first time after taking over in February, is in India with a high-powered ministerial delegation including U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Both sides also discussed the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPA).

Kerry said India is reviewing the text of the bilateral investment treaty model and looking at working on it. "We have agreed to try move forward on that model as soon as possible," he said. Negotiations for BIPA, aimed to deepen bilateral economic ties, started in 2008 and the last round of talks was held in June 2012.

Both sides also discussed the issue of U.S. bringing out a new immigration law, which might adversely impact Indian IT companies. Khurshid said India has communicated the matter and the U.S. has promised to do whatever possible. He clarified that it is not an immigration issue but concerns work permits.

He said both sides need to factor in their mutual concerns and find a win-win solution.

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Source: IANS