US upbeat on India growth story, keen to clinch investment treaty

Nisha-Biswal India

Conjuring up India as “one of the 21st century’s great growth stories,” the US is looking to clinch the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with New Delhi before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s likely visit to Washington around June 7-8. This could be the last full-spectrum bilateral meeting between the two leaders as Mr Obama completes his presidency later this year.

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Biswal, who was on a visit to India, underlined that the US companies could double their investment in India if the government showed policy predictability and go ahead with the liberalization regime.

With a strong possibility of Mr Modi’s visit to Washington in June, the US wants to move fast to make substantial progress in negotiations with India on the proposed BIT in the coming weeks. The two countries plan to upscale bilateral trade from $100 billion to $500 billion over the next few years.

“They (US companies) want to invest more in India because they know that it will be one of the 21st century’s great growth stories,” Ms Biswal said. “And one of the best tools out there to increase US investment in India would be a high-standard BIT,” she added.  

India requires around $1 trillion investments to develop its infrastructure and the US companies are keen to play a big role in this area. Focusing on investments in India, Ms Biswal had said that  US companies are keen to invest in India but they want “stability, legal certainty” if they want to participate in Mr Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. “We believe US FDI (foreign direct investment) could double if India continues to liberalise its investment regime … We strongly support Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India campaign which envisions India as an elite manufacturing hub. But, companies involved in global manufacturing need transparency, predictability and legal certainty,” Ms Biswal had said during her address on the ‘US-India Economic Relations’ in New Delhi.  

“According to data compiled by the US Treasury, our companies now invest more in Indian equities — over USD 12 billion in 2015 — than they do in China. According to the US-India Business Council, US firms invested over USD 15 billion in India in the last two years and will reportedly sign deals worth another USD 27 billion over the next two years,” she added.

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