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US officials coming to India for talks on investment pact

Hindu Business Line | March 2 2012

US officials coming to India for talks on investment pact

by PTI

US officials would soon travel to India for talks on Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), a top trade official has said, hoping the talks would conclude soon.

“We are travelling to India in the next several weeks for the next meeting of BIT,” US Trade Representative, Mr Ron Kirk, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.

Responding to the questions from the lawmakers, Mr Kirk said the US would soon develop a new BIT model, and is in talks with a range of countries for bilateral investment treaties.

“We have, in fact, intensified our engagement, at the same time though, with important potential partners like India and China. We’ve built on the successful visits of Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh to the US and (the US) President (Barack) Obama to India, for example,” he said.

“And (we have) got India to agree to a more robust engagement. We had one session in India, in December. We are travelling to India within the next several weeks for the next meeting of BIT.

“We’ve had over five sessions with China. We concluded a BIT with Rwanda, and we hope to again conclude the model BIT within the very near future that will allow us to go forward more aggressively,” Kirk said.

Earlier Congressman Wally Herger said that US should be pursuing BITs to help ensure that US investments abroad are protected from arbitrary government actions and discrimination, further paving the way for US exports to reach foreign markets.

“Almost 3,000 BITs have been concluded worldwide, yet the US is party to only about 40 of them. Those numbers demonstrate the extent to which US businesses and their workers are being left behind in the global economy,” Herger said.

“Unfortunately the administration has announced no new plans for bilateral investment treaties since 2009, and the existing negotiation on China, India and Mauritius Bilateral Investment Treaties have been on hold for over three years because the administration has not been able to conclude a review of the US model that you used to negotiate BIT,” he said.

 source: Hindu Business Line