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US presses India to speed up economic reforms

Washington: The US today asked India to speed up the pace of economic reforms, with special emphasis on ease of doing business, as American Vice President Joe Biden underlined the need to do more to
PTI September 22, 2015 12:59 IST
PTI

Washington: The US today asked India to speed up the pace of economic reforms, with special emphasis on ease of doing business, as American Vice President Joe Biden underlined the need to do more to protect intellectual property and liberalise trade with shared rules of the road.

Biden, who described the first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue as beginning of a "new era" in the Indo-US ties, also sought greater co-operation on the issue of climate change which, he argued, would unleash a new era of economic growth in the two largest democracies of the world.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are representing India at the first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue here.

"The rules of the road have to be universally followed. So we need to see more reforms to protect intellectual property," Biden said in his key note address to the 40th annual gala of US India Business Council (USIBC).

"We have to ease limits on foreign investment and make it easier for businesses to sell their products and services in the marketplace. More bilateral trade in my humble opinion - it's for India to decide -- is in the overwhelming interest of both our countries. And that can only occur if we continue to liberalise trade with shared rules of the road," he said.

"There is going to be some hard discussions here. This is difficult work," Biden said.

"This, in my view, is a propitious moment for the US-India relationship. We're in a new era as we kick off the first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between our two countries," he added.

Swaraj said India offers immense opportunities and asked American companies for a massive investment in the country.

"We see business between our two countries not simply as transactions, but as yet another manifestation and another multiplier of that very important strategic convergence. We hope this will be reciprocated by the businesses," she said.

In her address at the USIBC event, Swaraj said the US businesses are best placed to make their business decisions.

"We have plans to boost urbanisation and we are determined to provide affordable power and housing for all. We want to connect manufacturing in India with global supply chains and target to develop product based and service based industrial and governance platforms around Digital India," she said.

All of these initiatives and plans present real commercial and business opportunities for the US industry to partner with Indian public and private sector, and with a larger economy for a win-win outcome, she added.

"The business of diplomacy in India's present government is business. The government's priority from day one has been to make it easy to do business in India - and with India," Swaraj said.