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July 1, 1998


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CII chief, in Washington, says government should not retaliate against US companies

Confederation of Indian Industry president Rajesh Shah has opposed the idea of the Vajpayee government resorting to retaliatory measures against US corporations for they could help in reducing the rigour of US sanctions.

Talking to newsmen in Washington on Tuesday night, he said there was a need for keeping in constant touch with the US investors.

He also wanted New Delhi to press ahead with economic reforms with greater vigour to make India an attractive destination for foreign investors.

Shah, accompanied by CII Director General Tarun Das, is currently on a tour of the US, meeting officials in the Clinton administration, representatives of the international financial institutions and American businessmen, to exchange views on the situation arising out of the US sanctions against India.

He, however, said US businessmen had reaffirmed their long-term economic interest in India, but there was a negative feeling about the investment in India in the wake of its nuclear tests and the resultant sanctions.

Shah and Das met Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl F Inderfurth, US trade representatives and the officials at the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank which lends to the private sector in developing countries.

At all the meetings, Das said, the CII team emphasised the need for expanding economic and business ties with the United States which tops the list of foreign investors in India.

India's ambassador to the US, Naresh Chandra, who was also present at the press conference, said the US corporations disliked sanctions as a way of advancing foreign policy objectives. They also resented this type of treatment to a democracy like India.

Chandra said the sanctions had come as a challenge. They would bring the private sector in India and the United States closer.

He was all for the Indian companies staying in constant touch with US corporations, which, he said, could help reduce the impact of the sanctions. Through the US corporations, Indian companies could interact with the administration to ensure that the sanctions were not implemented in an unimaginative manner, he added.

He was hopeful that the initiative taken by Congress to review the sanctions would help blunt the rigour of the sanctions and also provide necessary flexibility to the administration.


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