Mumbai: The US is open to a free trade agreement
(FTA) with India but after further bilateral economic
engagements, Douglas Hartwick, assistant US trade representative
for South and South West Asia, said.
"Some people suggest India-US FTA and I say ''why
not?''. But we have to do a lot of work before that,"
the US official told a meet on Indo-US economic cooperation.
While Indo-US economic relations have seen a remarkable
growth in the last five years, they were not yet up
to the level of China-US engagement, he pointed out
Hartwick said the deals on high technology and nuclear
power between the two countries last year would boost
growth of economic ties and 2007 would be the year of
implementing these agreements.
India, meanwhile, demanded that the US should liberalise
visa regime, recognise degrees awarded by Indian institutions
and relax labour certification requirements for more
trade in services.
While the US demand for liberalising FDI limits and
norms were looked into and constantly reviewed, Ajay
Dua, secretary in the department of industrial policy
and promotion, said there should be an increase in items
of trade between the two countries.
He said although there are restrictions in certain areas,
there was enough
opportunity for foreigners to invest in India.
The US official also emphasized on the successful conclusion
of Doha Round of trade talks as top priority for the