'Visionary' Modi removing trade barriers: US

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Gandhinagar, Jan 12: Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "visionary" leader, the US has said the new Indian government is taking "concrete" steps to remove trade barriers and facilitate American investment in the country.

"I think it's clear to everybody that the Prime Minister is a visionary leader, and it's so exciting when you think about the prospects that we have here for business, which is already dynamic," a senior US State Department official said.

Narendra Modi

"He (Modi) is now taking barriers away that can allow that to really flourish, both here in India for Indian businesses, but those decisions that he's making and his government is making to make the business climate better for Indian businesses are also going to help US businesses," the official, who is travelling with the Secretary of State John Kerry, said in Ahmedabad.

The official further added that these steps will help India achieve its rightful place in the global supply chain as has been emphasised in the "Make in India" campaign.

"They're going to help India take its place in the global supply chain, which we all understand is something that one doesn't make everything in one place anymore.  And so you have to be part of that whole chain, and I think that's clearly recognised by the 'Make in India' campaign," the official noted.

The State Department functionary said though concrete steps have been taken, a lot remains to be done. The senior executive enumerated steps taken by the Indian government so far viz FDI in investment, defence and medical equipments; land reforms ordinance, goods and services tax.

"Some of the concrete steps that have been taken, including liberalising the ability for investment in insurance, defence and medical equipment; announcing land reforms, announcing and moving forward on the goods and services tax; as well as eliminating red tape, which we hear from our companies is actually occurring, and obviously there's more to do there," the official said.

Regarding the way forward, the official added: "In addition to that, there has been laid out a whole plan on energy for the future and what's going to happen there, as well as resolving the lingering issues over the WTO trade facilitation agreement, which is really about moving goods across the border in an efficient way, which is also about the global supply chain, because you've got to have inputs and you've got to be able to move your stuff out in order to be part of the global supply chain".

"So there's a whole lot that has happened inside India. Bilaterally between the US and India, essentially we started talking again. We've really reinvigorated our discussions on various concrete and substantive areas," the official said requesting anonymity.

"So there's the trade policy working group, there is a group on telecom and Internet that's meeting this week now in Washington, there's going to be a dialogue on intellectual property, there are numerous discussions going on energy. "Some of these things are meeting who haven't met for many years," the official added.


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