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US-India trade group welcomes liberalised FDI norms

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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.

(IANS)

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VPN Security Stepped Up By China Ahead Of Big Trade

Censors may be testing new technology that blocks VPNs more effectively, said Lokman Tsui,

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Internet, china
Computer users sit near a monitor display with a message from the Chinese police on the proper use of the internet at an internet cafe in Beijing, China.. VOA

Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to block virtual private networks (VPN), service providers said Tuesday in describing a “cat-and-mouse” game with censors ahead of a major trade expo and internet conference.

VPNs allow internet users in China, including foreign companies, to access overseas sites that authorities bar through the so-called Great Firewall, such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

Since Xi Jinping became president in 2013, authorities have sought to curb VPN use, with providers suffering periodic lags in connectivity because of government blocks.

“This time, the Chinese government seemed to have staff on the ground monitoring our response in real time and deploying additional blocks,” said Sunday Yokubaitis, the chief executive of Golden Frog, the maker of the VyprVPN service.

VPN
An RSA SecurID dongle used for internet VPN tunnelling , VOA

Authorities started blocking some of its services on Sunday, he told Reuters, although VyprVPN’s service has since been restored in China.

“Our counter measures usually work for a couple of days before the attack profile changes and they block us again,” Yokubaitis said.

The latest attacks were more aggressive than the “steadily increasing blocks” the firm had experienced in the second half of the year, he added.

The Cyberspace Administration of China did not respond immediately to a faxed request from Reuters to seek comment.

Another provider, ExpressVPN, also acknowledged connectivity issues on its services in China on Monday that sparked user complaints.

“There has long been a cat-and-mouse game with VPNs in China and censors regularly change their blocking techniques,” its spokesman told Reuters.

VPN
Although fears of a blanket block on services have not materialized, industry experts say VPN connections often face outages Pixabay

Last year, Apple Inc dropped a number of unapproved VPN apps from its app store in China, after Beijing adopted tighter rules.

Although fears of a blanket block on services have not materialized, industry experts say VPN connections often face outages around the time of major events in China.

Xi will attend a huge trade fair in Shanghai next week designed to promote China as a global importer and calm foreign concern about its trade practices, while the eastern town of Wuzhen hosts the annual World Internet Conference to showcase China’s vision for internet governance.

Also Read: Department Of Homeland Security Does Not Doubt Statements Of Tech Giants Regarding China Hack

Censors may be testing new technology that blocks VPNs more effectively, said Lokman Tsui, who studies freedom of expression and digital rights at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“It could be just a wave of experiments,” he said of the latest service disruptions. (VOA)