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US-India trade group welcomes liberalised FDI norms


Washington: The US-India Business Council (USIBC) applauded the Indian government’s latest reforms liberalising FDI norms in industries that are starved for capital and enable the ease of doing business in the country.

“Putting more FDI proposals through the automatic route is clear signal that the government is living up to the mandate of minimum government and maximum governance,” USIBC president Dr Mukesh Aghi said.

USIBC comprises 350 top-tier US and Indian companies.

“India’s recent rise in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, the ruling on Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT), its efforts to modernise the railways network, lifting of FDI in the insurance sector are all significant achievements that will propel more investment and innovation in the country,” he said.

“USIBC member companies are encouraged by the Government’s efforts to undertake economic reforms and stay away from politically driven distractions.”

“India continues to see increased FDI despite an uncertain global outlook. If the government continues on the current trajectory of bold (FDI and regulatory) reforms, then India will easily surpass the $41 billion in FDI from US companies,” Aghi said.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in Sep 2014, USIBC had identified upwards of $41 billion slated for investment from members over the next three years, based on a survey of 20 percent of USIBC’s membership.

Emphasizing the benefit of a more open economy, Aghi said, “Allowing a path to relax the norms for sourcing for single brand retailers who sell cutting edge technology will clear many of the challenges that high-tech companies have had when it comes to taking advantage of the 100 percent opening of the single brand retail sector.”

“In construction development, removal of two major conditions on minimum requirements area restriction of 20,000 square metre and capitalisation of US$ 5 million will provide much-needed boost to investment in the real estate development sector.”

The Council is keen on further reforms in these sectors and additional liberalisation that will aid the growth of bilateral trade, Aghi added.

“FDI in business to e-commerce still remains restricted. As a result, smaller Indian e-commerce companies cannot seek the capital they need to grow their business and hire more employees. USIBC will continue to urge the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) to allow at least 51 percent FDI in e-commerce,” he said.


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Nepal, Pakistan agree to revitalise Saarc process

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for "greater peace, security and prosperity in the region"

  • Nepal and Pakistan agreed to revitalise Saarc
  • This is done to promote greater peace and security
  • It will be apparently beneficial for both the nations

Nepal and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to revitalise the Saarc process for “greater peace, security and prosperity in the region” during talks that visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi held with the Himalayan nation’s leadership.

Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons
Nepal and Pakistan to revitalise SAARC process. Wikimedia Commons

Abbasi on Tuesday met Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari and addressed a programme at the Saarc Secretariat here. He also held a meeting with CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” in the morning.

Bhandari and Abbasi hoped to reinvigorate the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) as an important regional organisation. The Pakistani leader said that “issues of the countries in the region should not affect the activities of Saarc and its performance”.

He emphasised the need to make Saarc “more effective” in the days ahead. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas of mutual importance, including political, economic, defence and cultural fields.

On Monday evening, Abbasi met his Nepali counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli and both decided to revitalise the stalled Saarc process.

Also Read: India pulled out of SAARC meeting that is to be held in Pakistan

The Pakistani leader sought to host the 19th Saarc Summit of the regional grouping and asked Nepal to create a “favourable environment” for the same. The summit has been postponed since 2016 after a military attack on an Indian Army base in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the attack, India unilaterally suspended its participation from the summit. Several member states rallied behind India’s position.

Nepal is the current chair of the regional grouping. Oli’s chief political advisor Bishnu Rimal said “both leaders held a common view on taking the Saarc forum ahead as it was a common platform for all member countries and still significant”.

The step is taken to improve relationships between the two countries.

Addressing a function at the Saarc Secretariat in Kathmandu, Abbasi said peace, security and mutual friendship were essential for the prosperity of South Asia.

“Pakistan has undivided belief in the Saarc objectives, ideologies and principles,” he said, adding that Islamabad was fully committed to the Saarc charter.

Abbasi also announced doubling the scholarships provided to Nepal by the Pakistan government and proposed to set up a joint parliamentary panel between Kathmandu and Islamabad. IANS

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