India lacks ambition to attract investments, says US official

30 Jul 2016


A lack of ambition and confidence is holding back India from concluding a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the United States, an official of the US administration said on Friday, adding that his country remained open to continuing dialogue as it is important for both the nations.

Acknowledging that India is the fastest growing economy in G20, deputy assistant to the US President and deputy national security advisor for international Economics, Adewale (Wally) Adeyemo said the US wants to be involved with India going forward.

"To be frank, we are far apart on number of issues with regard to trade and investment with India. We feel our colleagues in India have not been as ambitious (on concluding the BIT) as we want them to be but we remain open," Adeyemo said at a session on India-US Economic Relations.

Both India and the US have been negotiating BIT since 2008.

Adeyemo said despite the lack of an investment treaty US investment in India has grown from a mere $8.5 billion (about Rs56,548.4 crore) in 2005 to over $35 billion (about Rs2,32,000 crore) last year.

The union cabinet had, in December last year, approved the revised model text of a bilateral investment treaty with a view to enhancing protection of foreign investors in India as well as Indian investments abroad. However, the draft left out taxation matters out of its ambit.

The US official said India needs to do more in terms of ease of doing business and for this, it should also make sure that investments norms are easier.

On the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, Adeyemo said IPR is the issue where both countries have great deal of contention.

"I do think there are issues where we can find ways to work together. For example digital issues, with regard to IPR this is the place both have interest in trying to find solutions. Finding places to work together will help us in finding solution to more contentious issues like IPR," he explained.

Referring to cheap exports of steel from China, Adeyemo noted that China is subsidising steel and they are producing too much steel. "We want to use global forum like WTO to hold China accountable," he said.

Talking about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Adeyemo said economic value of TPP is great and we are rebalancing our trade relations tow

US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma had, last month, said India and the US are targeting a four-fold jump in bilateral trade to $500 billion (about Rs3,300,000 crore) in the near future.

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