U.S. pushes India on economic reforms
Friday, 24 June 2011, 05:40 Hrs
"If India wants to continue to grow as rapidly as it has, it will have to continue reforms that encourage-not hinder-investment in trade in areas that are key to India's growth such as agriculture development, financial services and infrastructure," Obama's chief of staff Bill Daley said at a meeting of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) Thursday.
"For almost two decades, India has had whole liberalising reforms, opening itself to foreign investment and trade and has ripened the benefits of unprecedented economic growth," noted Daley who served as the Commerce Secretary in the Clinton Administration.
"As a strategic partner we hope that India continues to move in that direction," he said.
"We will take these steps because in the 21st century it is no secret that success could only come through increased integration of global trade," Daley said.
Referring to U.S. concerns over India's nuclear liability law to implement the landmark India-U.S. civil nuclear deal, Daley said: "We hope that emerging legal and regulatory framework for nuclear commerce in India will permit our companies to share some of the safest and most advanced technologies available."
US under secretary for international trade, Francisco Sanchez also suggested barriers to investment in India, particularly in sectors such as financial services and solar-power technology "keep our trade and our investment from reaching significantly higher levels."
Still, he said U.S. exports to India are on track to set another record this year, up 15 percent on the year through the first four months.
Calling trade and investment flows between the two countries "way below their potential," Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma Sharma urged US industry to take advantage of opportunities in India, such as plans to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure over the next five years.
Innovation is another area where "the partnership has to be given more strength," he said.
Sharma also brushed aside talk of scrapping India's ambitious plans on nuclear energy in the wake of Japan's Fukushima crisis.
While supporting safety reviews of nuclear establishments, Sharma said: "We are very clear it is an absolute must in the bouquet of energy resources which have to be accessed."
"We feel that this is one area where collaboration or partnership has to be given more strength," he said.
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