US makes a pitch for bilateral investment treaty with India

NEW DELHI, Sept 14: The US today expressed willingness to have a bilateral investment treaty with India that will boost investor confidence and help increase size of bilateral trade.
“I continue to believe that a bilateral investment treaty between the two countries will help boost investor confidence… And establish effective dispute resolution so that companies and investors searching for destination can put their money,” US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said today.
“I feel they want to know if there is a treaty or a system in place where they can resolve disputes and protect their investments. And we don’t have that with India. We have bilateral investment treaty with dozens of other countries, but we would like to certainly have one with India.”
Verma was speaking at the 12th Indo-US Economic Summit organised by the North India Council of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (AICC-NIC).
He also said there is a need to push innovation in India so that the target of raising the bilateral trade size to USD 500 billion could be met.
India and the US are targeting a four-fold jump in bilateral trade to USD 500 billion in the near future, which stood at nearly USD 110 billion in 2015.
According to Verma, unless there is a push for innovation, it will take years to reach that figure.
“We would have to use the latest technology and innovation both at the level of the government and the private sector,” he added.
Also, he stressed on the need to have strong intellectual property regime so that the interests of the innovators could be protected.
“If we want the best innovative technology, we would need an IPR regime to protect it. A policy reform like the Bankruptcy Bill will be helpful to first-time innovators,” Verma said.
Verma also lauded India’s recent reforms, including the GST Bill, Bankruptcy Bill and widening up of FDI in defence, banking and insurance sectors.
The US Ambassador said India is a country of immense potential as it is expected to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2030.
At present, India is US’ 5th largest FDI investor. “We have been discussing diverse topics which are vital to bilateral relations between India and the US from the economic point of view, promotion of business and commerce between the two countries,” said Lalit Bhasin, Summit Chair and Regional President, AICC-NIC.
This time, he said, the topics under discussion cover Indian media and entertainment industry, defence, food processing and development of inland waterways.
Yes Bank MD and CEO Rana Kapoor spoke of deep commitment by India and the US to strengthen the bilateral ties.
“The recently-concluded landmark US-India Strategic & Commercial Dialogue on August 30 is testament to the deep commitment shared by India and the US towards promoting a new era of greater trade, investment and economic partnership,” Kapoor said through an e-mail.
He is hopeful that strategic ties between the two will help pull off the USD 500 billion bilateral trade target.
“As India and the US strive towards becoming best partners, co-operation in key strategic sectors, including smart cities and infrastructure development, innovation and entrepreneurship, tourism, renewable energy and SMEs, among others, will help actualise our bilateral trade target of USD 500 billion in coming years,” Kapoor added. (PTI)