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Under Secretary Adams to visit India next week

Written by: Staff

Washington, Apr 27: Under Secretary for International Affairs Tim Adams will attend the 39th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Hyderabad next week.

He told reporters at the Foreign Press Center here that the US Treasury Department will soon have a financial attache in India.

''An attache is someone who represents the Treasury Department with their Finance Ministry and Central Bank counterparts, and as well as other banking and securities and insurance regulators. But India has become so important to us, not as an economy but as a financial center, that we'll soon be putting a full-time Treasury representative there,'' he added.

The trip is an opportunity to highlight the importance U.S. places on the role of the Asia Development Bank in reducing poverty in the region as well as an opportunity to build on the U.S.-India partnership in a number of areas including continuing to work on ways to further capitalize on potential gains from expanded trading opportunities and more open financial markets in India.

Before arriving in Hyderabad, Adams will travel to Mumbai and Kolkata to meet with local financial and business leaders. Adams will also visit microfinance sites to discuss innovative approaches for getting capital in the hands of local entrepreneurs that may not have access to banks.

In Hyderabad, Adams will lead the U.S. delegation at the Asian Development Bank annual meeting where he will discuss key elements of the Bush Administration's development agenda, including the role of the private sector in reducing poverty in Asia, measuring concrete results and fighting corruption.

Adams said in Mumbai he would meet with the Reserve Bank of India officials. ''Indian government wants to make Mumbai a regional financial center, and in some respects it already is. It's one of the reasons we're going there. It's an important stop on the global capital trail that I follow in my job. So we look forward to the rise of Mumbai as an important regional financial center. They certainly have talented individuals there, enormous capacity,'' he said.

Stressing the importance of strengthening Indo-US economic ties, he said over the past 15 years, India has been the second-fastest growing economy in the world, and it is now the 12th largest economy in the world and a growing important economy for the U.S. for exports. Our exports to India jumped by 30 percent last year, he added.

He said India is also an important source and destination for U.S. foreign direct investment, and under the right set of circumstances ''we could see even more U.S. foreign direct investment into India.'' Infrastructure remains one of the great challenges to future growth in India. The World Bank did a study that said that for India to grow well beyond its recent rate of 7 percent to grow at 8 or 9 or 10 percent, you really have to see a massive adjustment in the percentage of GDP that's allocated toward infrastructure.

He also mentioned that opening up the financial sector is an important topic that would figure in the talks he will have with Indian officials. '' We think it would import important risk management systems. It would allow Indian savers and investors to better manage their risk by expanding their portfolio options. A vibrant banking center and system, one that makes decisions based on commercial terms, is an important ingredient to economic growth,'' he said.


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