[Ip-health] Business Standard: Investment treaty tops Obama's agenda

Shailly Gupta shailly.gupta at geneva.msf.org
Tue Jan 20 01:44:51 PST 2015


Prime minister, US president to address closed-door meeting between chief
executives from India, US

 

http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/investment-treaty-to
ps-obama-s-agenda-115012000026_1.html

 

The US is going to make a heavy-duty pitch for starting negotiations on a
much-delayed
<http://www.business-standard.com/search?type=news&q=Bilateral+Investment+Tr
eaty> bilateral investment treaty(BIT) with India even as executives from
both sides meet on January 26.

The US has been urging India to begin negotiations for a
<http://www.business-standard.com/search?type=news&q=Bit> BITor Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) since 2010, when
<http://www.business-standard.com/search?type=news&q=President+Obama>
President Obama last visited India.

"The government agrees that an early conclusion of the BIT negotiations will
significantly improve the investment sentiments. But the US is well aware of
our problems. We are revising the model BIT agreement to do away with
investment-state disputes [related to telecom multinationals whose licences
were cancelled]. Once that is finalised, we will be in a position to resume
negotiations," a senior official told Business Standard.

However, according to diplomatic sources, it seems American companies were
"not willing to wait any further" and were putting pressure on their
government to have it sealed with the new Indian administration.

 

Subsequently, the US has been stepping up pressure on the Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP)-led government to conclude the talks and sign an agreement.

"The matter has been taken up in every meeting that the new government had
with American authorities," said another official.

This will also be the most important agenda for the
<http://www.business-standard.com/search?type=news&q=India-us+Ceo+Forum>
India-US CEO Forum that will meet on January 26; both Modi and Obama will be
present. This will be followed by a joint address by the two leaders to
Confederation of Indian Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce
and Industry and the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India.

This meeting between Obama and Modi will be in addition to the one on
January 24.

BIT is expected to ensure protection for investments as well as intellectual
property rights. Although India has BIPPAs with 83 countries, it has not
signed one with the US yet, leaving companies from the world's biggest
economy unsure about their investments here.

US Secretary of State
<http://www.business-standard.com/search?type=news&q=John+Kerry> John Kerry
is believed to have expressed his concerns over delay in BIT talks and said
to have raised the issue with Modi during their meeting on the sidelines of
the 'Vibrant Gujarat' summit earlier this month.

During his speech at the summit, MasterCard's Ajay Banga had made a strong
pitch to restart BIT negotiations.

"High time BIT talks gain momentum. This is certainly the most important
issue for American companies. If the government wants investments to come in
from there, then protection is a crucial factor," said Ajay Singha,
executive director, American Chamber of Commerce in India.

The US has already had 15 round of talks with China for a BIT. With India,
the last round of talks took place in February 2011.

Of the 83 BIPPAs, India has enforced 72. Following disputes with telecom
multinationals over cancellation of their licences the United Progressive
Alliance government had decided to review the treaties.

"When making investment decisions, companies need an environment that is
predictable, transparent and consistent. A bilateral investment treaty
between India and the US would create this environment and significantly
increase investment flows," said Diane Farrell, acting President, US-India
Business Council.

During 2000-2014 India received
<http://www.business-standard.com/search?type=news&q=Foreign+Direct+Investme
nts> foreign direct investments of $13.28 billion, according to data from
the ministry of commerce and industry. Trade in goods and services between
India and the US is around $100 billion. Both governments aim to achieve
$500 billion worth of trade.

 

Shailly Gupta

Deputy Head

MSF Access Campaign (India)

AISF Building, First Floor

Lajpat Nagar IV

New Delhi - 110024

Ph: +91-9899976108 

Skype : shailly.17 

 




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