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|December 11, 1997||
No US pressure on India at WTO, asserts Daley
United States Commerce Secretary William Daley today denied allegations that his country was exerting pressure on India at the ongoing World Trade Organisation meet at Geneva to expedite financial sector reforms.
Talking to newspersons after addressing a luncheon meeting in Madras, he said it was necessary to reach an understanding before the set deadline. "The negotiations are in their final week," he pointed out.
"We think that further opening up of financial sector would only benefit India by bringing in much-needed additional capital before the beginning of the next century," he said.
Daley said his visit had focused on the issues of tariff reductions, aggressive protection of intellectual property rights, slashing bureaucratic red tape and making investment regimes more open, predictable and transparent.
Daley said the US business community was "very serious" about investing in India, which was bound to become a key economic player in the coming century.
Asked why the US investment in India was meagre compared to China, he said he did not want to be drawn into "comparison exercise".
"The Chinese came out earlier in favour of foreign investment. The same is happening here as well," he added.
He said the US was keen on strengthening a political, strategic and commercial alliance with India. "President Bill Clinton has designated India as one of the big emerging markets which would have an extraordinary influence on global affairs in the post-Cold War era," he added.
Daley congratulated the four south Indian states for embracing the new deregulated and decentralised economic environment and working hard to attract foreign investment since 1991.
Daley conceded that though the US was the leading foreign investor in India, New Delhi still accounted for a surprisingly small slice of the US aggregate overseas investment.
"Too often in India, contracts signed and agreements reached have not translated into projects completed and standing structures. For every dollar of US investment actively circulating in the Indian economy, there are seven more dollars that have received preliminary approval by the Indian government, but are still pending a final go-ahead," he added.
Comparing south India's growth and development with those of the new south in the United States, he said south Indian firms had demonstrated their technical and managerial abilities in the increasingly competitive international market.
Daley also honoured former CII President and Sundaram Fasteners Chairman Suresh Krishna for winning the US auto giant General Motors's "Best Supplier of the Year 1996" for exporting quality radiator caps.
Dwelling on the growth of Indo-US annual trade in the last seven years, Daley said the figure, which was six billion US dollars in 1991, was expected to cross the $10 billion mark this year. However, US' exports to India amounted to only one per cent of its total exports, despite the big market here, he pointed out.
According to recent estimates, India needed investment of $34 billion to develop its roads in the next eight years, $53 billion to install new telecom networks in the next decade and $7.3 billion to modernise its ports, apart from the rising demand for power which was growing at 7.5 per cent annually.
Apart from the US' business delegation led by Daley, more than 100 leading industrialists and businessmen from the southern states and senior minsters from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka besides the Pondicherry chief minister were present.
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