India, US to remove hurdles in business, investments

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry Monday called for removing "impediments" to doing business with India and noted that India-US economic cooperation had grown five-fold in the past five years to surpass $100 billion.

Addressing a joint media interaction with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid at the Hyderabad House, Kerry said both sides in their talks had discussed "impediments" to foreign investment and they were assured "that India is taking important steps" to address their concerns, and the US too was doing likewise to address India's concerns.

"Trade between India and US has grown fivefold just in the years of the Obama administration. Investments between our countries have grown by 10 percent. ..Both can do even more, we can break down trade and investment barriers," Kerry said.

Kerry also said that the US and India were committed to "fully implement" the India-US civil nuclear deal and that US' Westinghouse Electric and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) were to arrive at a common agreement "by September this year" for the first US reactor in India.

He said both sides would have a joint CEOs forum in Washington on July 12 which Commerce Minister Anand Sharma would attend.

Kerry, who is visiting India for the first time after taking over in February, is in India with a high-powered ministerial delegation including US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Both sides also discussed the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPA).

Kerry said India is reviewing the text of the bilateral investment treaty model and looking at working on it. "We have agreed to try move forward on that model as soon as possible," he said. Negotiations for BIPA, aimed to deepen bilateral economic ties, started in 2008 and the last round of talks was held in June 2012.

Both sides also discussed the issue of US bringing out a new immigration law, which might adversely impact Indian IT companies. Khurshid said India has communicated the matter and the US has promised to do whatever possible. He clarified that it is not an immigration issue but concerns work permits

He said both sides need to factor in their mutual concerns and find a win-win solution.

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