Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has urged the US industry leaders to increase their engagement with India and benefit form its investor-friendly environment. He urged CEOs in the US to take part in the Indian growth story and invest in crucial sectors such as infrastructure, energy, research, education and bio-technology.
Mr. Sharma, who is now in the U.S. leading his ministry's delegation in the ongoing second meeting of the reconstituted U.S.-India CEO Forum in Washington DC, said the Indian government was in the process of conceptualising national manufacturing investment zones as integrated industrial townships with the state-of-art infrastructure and complete eco-system for manufacturing industry. “This mechanism is being developed in response to the concerns on availability of developed land, infrastructure and other services for industry,” he said, and invited suggestions from CEOs.
On India's foreign direct investment regime, he said India had a liberal and transparent FDI regime in place except for a few sectors such as banking and insurance, defence and retail trade in which they favoured calibrated liberalisation on account of domestic sensitivities. He said initiatives like e-biz, incorporation of the Invest India company, simplification and consolidation of the FDI policy pronouncements would go a long way in improving business environment.
Welcoming the CEO Forum initiative on the launching of $1 billion venture capital/private equity fund for clean energy technology development projects, Mr. Sharma said the West, including the US, would continue to lead technology development. He urged the CEO Forum to suggest specific mechanisms to make clean technologies accessible to the resource poor countries, given that these were protected by IPRs and often out of their reach.
He also lauded the Forum's initiative to participate and support the joint research centre proposed as part of Indo-U.S. Clean Energy Research and Deployment Initiative, besides establishing a joint Indo-U.S. Drug Discovery Fund.
Mr. Sharma also met U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk. Both Ministers reviewed the implementation of the India- US Trade Policy Forum Framework for Cooperation on Trade and Investment singed in March 2010 and agreed to further the engagement to build on the success of the Trade Policy Forum by facilitating trade and investment flows between the two countries.
They agreed to hold the next meeting of the Trade Policy Forum at an early date and also work towards identifying deliverables for the forthcoming visit of US President Barack Obama.