Deccan Herald | 26 July 2014
Modi’s US visit to boost bilateral investment treaty
Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi, DHNS :
The negotiation between India and US for a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is set to gain momentum in the coming weeks ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with American President Barack Obama in Washington DC in September.
With the Ministry of Finance close to finalising India’s new model text for the BIT (also known as Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement or BIPPA), New Delhi and Washington DC will review progress of the negotiation on the proposed treaty during the fifth India-US strategic dialogue scheduled to be held early next week.
American Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday to hold talks with External Affairs Minister and Finance Minister . Trade and economy constitute one of the five pillars of the annual strategic dialogue, which covers the entire gamut of the India-US ties.
Sources told Deccan Herald that the US was keen to fast-track the negotiation on the BIT, so that the deal could be consider among the possible deliverables of Modi-Obama meeting in White House on September 30 next. “American companies recognise the potential of India’s economy and are eager to make long-term investments in India,” said Nisha Desai Biswal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia.
India and US had three rounds of negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty since August 2009, but the process was put on hold after the last round in June 2012, as New Delhi decided to review its own template for such agreements. The move to review the template for BIPPAs came after Sistema Joint Stock Financial Corporation issued notice to Government invoking India-Russia bilateral agreement in order to protect its investment in the wake of SC’s 2012 order for cancellation of its 2-G telecom license.
New Delhi made it clear that it would sign a BIT only after satisfying itself that no clause of the agreement could be invoked in future to challenge or resist implementation of any order from a court of law in India.