U.S. industry welcomes union budget

By Aritra   |   Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 06:00 Hrs
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WASHINGTON: The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) welcomed the ‘inclusive-growth message’ in India’s Union Budget for the financial year 2007-08.

"The U.S.-India Business Council is pleased with the initiatives listed in the 2007-08 Union Budget. It should achieve a balance of promoting infrastructure growth while combating inflation, and provide new opportunities for American companies to engage in the Indian market," said Ron Somers, President of USIBC.

U.S. industry is particularly pleased by the reduction in peak customs duty rates from 12.5 percent down to 10 percent, further reductions in customs duties on chemicals, plastics and other materials to 7.5 percent, a reduction in customs duties on medical equipment to 7.5 percent, an increase in defense expenditures, and the extension of "pass-through" status for venture capital funds invested into a number of growth industries.

The council also welcomed other initiatives outlined by the Finance Minister during his Budget Speech, particularly a reiteration of his pledge to introduce an amendment to the Insurance Act that will provide greater scope for foreign investment into the sector, as well as new thrusts on reforming education, agriculture, infrastructure and financial services.

On the flip side, the Council expressed its disappointment at the Finance Minister for not raising a few critical issues USIBC members had hoped to see addressed in the Budget. Chief among these are taxation issues related to transfer pricing for IT service operations, and an extension of the Software Technology Parks of India tax incentive.

The Council will launch a 38-company Executive Mission to India to attend a Confederation of Indian Industry economic summit on March 6 in New Delhi. This USIBC mission will travel to Kolkata and Chennai on March 8 & 9.

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