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US may propose financial centre
Monica Gupta & Utpal Bhaskar in New Delhi | March 02, 2006 02:28 IST
The United States is likely to propose setting up of a regional financial services centre in Mumbai during the visit of President George Bush to India.
President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are expected to discuss the issue during their bilateral meeting. The proposal is based on a recommendation of the Indo-US CEOs Forum.
Highly placed sources told Business Standard the proposal, if accepted by India, could be accommodated under the Special Economic Zones Act since the law provides for setting up of an international financial centre. The proposed centre would be similar to those in cities like London and would have features such as stock exchanges and derivative trading.
The US is also expected to announce its interest in setting up large special economic zones in India spread over 20,000 acres or more. Another likely announcement is for setting up of a group on legal services comprising around six prominent lawyers from each side.
Both countries have also agreed on changes in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary agreement and a protocol would be signed allowing export of Indian mangoes to the US and import of almonds and pulses from the US.
The other major announcement that is expected to take place is for setting up of a joint technology mission that will function under the name of Science and Technology Mission. Both sides are further expected to announce formation of working groups to resolve trade related issues such as the one pertaining to allowing import of Harley Davidson bikes from the US.
Officials from both sides who met on Wednesday, ahead of the president's visit also discussed an investment summit to be held sometime in October-November this year which would be preceded by roadshows in the US. Agriculture and food processing, energy, science and technology, intellectual property rights, manufacturing, information and communication technology, space and defence, financial sector and healthcare have been earmarked as sectors that hold a potential for bilateral cooperation.
Some of the high-profile honchos who are a part of the Indo-US CEOs group include Paul Hanrahan of AES, Harold McGraw of McGraw-Hill Companies and William Harrison III of JP Morgan Chase.