US should re-launch BIT negotiations with India

USIBC has asked Obama administration to re-launch BIT negotiations with India.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's forthcoming visit to the US next week, a US business advocacy group, US India Business Council (USIBC), has asked President Barack Obama’s administration to re-introduce the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations with the Indian government at its earliest.
"The US Government should consider formally re-launching our bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations with the Government of India as soon as possible," the USIBC president Mukesh Aghi said in his letter.
"While both governments took a break from the negotiations on account of revising the model BITs, it is important for us to come back to the negotiating table to develop a way-forward on concluding a high-quality BIT," the letter said.
The council, which represents about 350 American companies having their operations in India, has also asked the US government to back India’s membership in the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping.
"USIBC recognises that participation in APEC is a two-way street, and we similarly have been encouraging the Government of India to participate in APEC discussion groups of their choice as an observer to better understand the requirements of membership," the letter said.
"While USIBC appreciates that the US Government may have other trading partners that it also would like to nominate for membership into APEC, we believe that the US Government could nominate India for APEC membership without slighting other trade partners. This is especially true given the size and importance of India's economy," it said.
Last month, the USIBC wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and US Trade Representatives Mike Froman. The letter was uploaded on USIBC blog this week.
Referring to the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and India’s eventual membership in this 12-member grouping, the USIBC recommended that the US government should develop a long-term strategic trade goal with India and take small steps towards this goal.
“USIBC believes that we are at a moment in time where the US Government ought to double down its efforts to secure its trade relationship with India," the group said.
On Modi's visit to the US next week, the advocacy body said his visit is an opportune time for both the countries to cement the progress made on their trade relations.


The Dollar Business Bureau - Jun 04, 2016 12:00 IST