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Saturday, 4 June 2016

US should re-launch BIT negotiations with India: USIBC

WASHINGTON: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit here, a top US business advocacy group has asked the Obama administration to re-launch bilateral investment treaty ( BIT ) negotiations with India as soon as possible and support its membership in the APEC grouping. The US India Business Council ( USIBC ) - which represents about 350 American companies having footprint in India - said this in a joint letter to Secretary of State John Kerry , Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and US Trade Representatives Mike Froman. The latter dated May 25 was posted on USIBC blog this week. "The US Government should consider formally re-launching our bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations with the Government of India as soon as possible," said the USIBC president Mukesh Aghi 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," it said. USIBC in its letter urged the US Government to support India's entry in the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). 
"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 give the size and importance of India's economy," USIBC said. 

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