CII CEO's team to explore new areas of cooperation with U.S., Canada

New Delhi, July 15 (ANI): A Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) CEO's delegation led by S. Gopalakrishnan, President, CII and Co-Founder and Executive Co-Chairman, Infosys Limited, will be visiting the United States and Canada from July 15-18.

As part of CII's ongoing efforts to provide a fillip to economic relations between India and North America, the CII team arrives close on the heels of the U.S. visits of Government of India officials, Union Commerce and Industry MInister Anand Sharma, who was also accompanied by a CII delegation, as well as Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

While in Canada, the CII delegation is expected to meet with Canadian CEOs and partner organizations, Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) and the Canada-India Business Council (CIBC) to develop a comprehensive strategy to boost bilateral engagement.

The India-Canada bilateral economic relationship remains largely untapped with bilateral trade in merchandize at a mere CAD 5 billion. On the investment front, Indian investments in Canada have seen unprecedented growth as compared to Canadian investments in India.

Growing from barely CAD 211 million in 2006, Indian FDI in Canada stood at CAD 4.4 billion in 2011 - nearly seven and a half times greater than Canadian FDI in India in that year, which was less than CAD 600 million.

While the U.S.-India bilateral partnership has grown exponentially in the past few decades, the global economic turbulence that the world is witnessing has had an impact on the economic relationship.

While trade in goods and services between the U.S. and India seems to be clocking a healthy rate of growth and are set to cross the 100 billion dollar mark, investments continue to be an area of concern with the U.S. now slipping to fifth position in terms of FDI inflow into India.

On the contrary, Indian investments in the US are on the rise, and FDI from India is seen as one of fastest growing sources of investment into the United States.

The CII delegation will be engaging with its partners, the Administration and members on Capitol Hill in the U.S. to find ways and means to place bilateral economic relations between the U.S. and India on a new growth trajectory.

The CII feels that there is a tremendous potential for engagement in new areas such as clean and renewable energy, clean technologies and energy conservation and energy efficiency; higher education and skills development; research, development and innovation in agriculture, especially in post-harvest and cold chain technologies and food safety and standards; high technology; health services and innovations in medical technologies among others.

On the trade front, professional, scientific, and technical services, finance/insurance services, and the information services sectors remains a very critical component of the bilateral trade basket.

Unfortunately, recent developments in the effort to reform the U.S. immigration system are likely to throw up challenges to the Indian services companies in the United States.

The CII feels that both sides will need to take concerted action to minimize disruption in this sector. This is important not just for Indian companies, but also for US companies to maintain their competitiveness in the global market.

Some other issues of concern for both US and India such as GAAR and retrospective taxation, IPR protection, conclusion of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), among others are also expected to come up for discussion during the visit.

Gopalakrishnan will be accompanied by Mr Ajay Shriram, President-Designate CII; Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII; Dr Naushad Forbes, CII National Committee on Higher Education and Director, Forbes Marshall Private Limited; Mr Vikram Kirloskar, Chairman, CII Innovation Council and Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) Board and Chairman and Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Limited; Mr Rajan Navani, Managing Director, Jetline Group of Companies; Mr Ravi Uppal, Managing Director and CEO, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd; Mr K Ramchand, Managing Director, ILandFS Transport Network Ltd and Mr Srikant Suryanarayanan, National Chairman, Yi and Managing Director, Tradelinks Ventures Private Limited. (ANI)

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