Press Trust of India | Fri Mar 13, 2009
USIBC Wants Bilateral Investment Treaty Between India & US
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The US India Business Council, which played a key role in the passage of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, wants the Obama administration to take the relationship between the two countries to the next level by signing a bilateral investment treaty, among other things.
Besides signing a bilateral investment treaty, the USIBC also wants the Obama administration to appoint an Indian American to a key post in the Commerce Department and has urged President Barack Obama to visit India in his first term.
The USIBC also wants both the countries to liberalize their visa regimes and to sign an ‘Open Skies Agreement’ equivalent to that in the field of education.
The wish list for the Obama Administration was read out on March 4 by the USIBC President Ron Somers at a meeting organized by it on ‘Delivering on the Promise - Advancing US relations with India.’
“As for USIBC’s aspirations for the Obama Administration, we are intent on seeing a bilateral investment treaty executed between our countries,” Somers told a gathering of some 200 business executives at its headquarters, which happens to be a street across the White House.
“USIBC strongly endorses the appointment of an Indian American to a prominent post in the US Commerce Department, one who could champion the US-India trade and commerce, recognizing the new global economic order.
After all, by 2050, the three strongest economies will be China, the US and India, he added.
“USIBC would hope that President Obama will visit India during his first term, so he can see and experience India, the world’s largest, free market democracy in action,” he said.
“We are confident President Obama will be moved - as we all have been - by the generosity of heart and spirit of the India people. This first-hand experience will allow President Obama to place the Indo-US relationship in the proper context with due priority,” Somers said.
The 34th anniversary celebrations of USIBC on June 17th would be addressed by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The president of USIBC, which represents the top businesses of both the countries, said the US and Indian now need to create a new visa regime in the US that enables technology experts to move back and forth more freely.
On entry into India, he said, “Just imagine the boom to tourism if India were to embrace a system of ‘Visa on Arrival’, he said.
“We must press for the equivalent of ‘Open Skies Agreement” between our countries,” Somers said. (PTI)