US tells India to do more to attract large FDI in key areas

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Washington, July 13: There is more concern among US businesses now about investing in India than was a few years ago though New Delhi was pursuing reforms, senior American leaders have said.

The US Trade Representatives (USTR), Mike Froman; and David Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, said India needs to address the concerns of the American business on a host of policy issues so as to attract foreign direct investment in key areas like infrastructure sectors.

They said bilateral trade with India was way below that with China and called for addressing key issues.
At the same time, Froman and Cote - who are the US Co-Chairs of the India-US CEOs Forum - said the key Indian functionaries are committed to reforms.

They said those including Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and the Planning Commission deputy chairperson, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, are committed to the reforms, "though it is not happening much as they would like to".

"In our relationship with a number of different countries, the business community often has been the strongest component of close relationships.

"When the business community feels that things are not going well and begin to raise questions about the relationship, it has an impact on the bilateral relationship on the politics, which you seen by the reaction from the members of the Congress as well. So that is so important," Froman said.

In an exclusive joint interview to PTI at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department after the meeting of the India-US CEOs Forum, the two representing the voice of Obama Administration and Corporate America, said their issues with India are recoverable.

"It is recoverable. That is why it is so important that we are requesting the Government of India to address these issues so that we can maintain the strong foundations for a good US India relationship," Froman said.

"There was a very frank discussion, where in body held back any issues," Froman said.

"Over the last two years we have felt a cooling when it comes to US interests in investing in India."

"They are cooling, because we have seen a number of actions taken, each explainable in itself but cumulatively causing US investors to say aaaann, you know, I may be wanting to think up a little bit more," Cote said.

Responding to a question, Cote gave a sense that US companies are unlikely to be forthcoming in investing in India much unless their concerns are addressed.

"There is more concern now about investing in India than was a few years ago. This is all very recoverable.".

Froman said the US companies are the friends of India.

PTI

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