Chennai: The US ambassador to India, Ms Nancy Powell, has said the Bilateral Investment Treaty between India and the US has reached an advanced stage of negotiation.
“This treaty would enhance transparency and predictability for investors, and support economic growth and job creation in both countries,” said Ms Powell on a visit to Chennai.
“We expect a new round (of negotiations) to kick off very soon.”
The Ambassador said the US is committed to working with the Indian Government in resolving the challenges to trade and investment. The challenges include high tariff and non-tariff barriers, restrictions on foreign investment and policy decisions.”
In her address to the Indian business community, organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Ms Powell said the adoption of manufacturing policies discriminatory to foreign companies and the inclusion of retroactive tax provisions in the Finance Bill by India are two examples of policy decisions that could dampen business sentiment.
Ms Powell said her primary purpose was to ensure bilateral business ties get a big boost. In 1995, the value of US goods exports to India was just above $3 billion. Last year, it topped $21 billion and this year it is expected to touch $100 billion. In 1995, when Ms Powell left India as Minister-Counsellor for Political Affairs in Delhi, US FDI into India was negligible. Now it’s near $30 billion. Indian FDI in the US tops $3 billion.
While US software and auto companies have made good headway in India, the emerging opportunities are in the areas of nano-technology, biotechnology and homeland security.