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'India needs to curb red tape and lift FDI limits'

July 14, 2015 14:45 IST

India needs to cut red tape and lift limits on FDI to move forward, US Vice President Joe Biden said as he sought a high-standard bilateral investment treaty that would make the world's fastest growing economy a magnet for the American capital and technology. "We each have a stake in other's economic vitality," Biden said.

"We know, a powerful growing and vibrant Indian economy is in United States' self-interest. And, a growing US economy is in India's best interest. This is not a zero-sum game," he said on Monday in his address at an event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of India-US civil nuclear deal.

Biden, who during his visit to India in 2013 had set the target of increasing the bilateral trade to $500 billion, said concluding a high-standard bilateral investment treaty (BIT) would be a very strong step forward.

It would help make India magnet for US capital and technology and benefit Indians to invest in America, he said. India and the US are negotiating the high-standard BIT to create an enabling business environment in India.

Since 2008, the two have been engaged in talks to arrive at such a treaty. India has, however, adopted a model BIT framework to further ease the way for foreign firms and remove impediments.

Biden said the US supports the goal of creating jobs and boosting production at home and in India but wants to achieve that without disturbing trade or discouraging innovation.

"We are also working with India to successfully conclude WTO Doha Round and implementing the World Trade Facilitating Agreement agreed to in the WTO ministerial in 2013," he said.

The US Vice President said that this would provide significant benefits to both the economies and the global trade system as a whole.

"And Prime Minister Modi knows, India can move forward by cutting red tape, battling corruption and lifting limits on foreign direct investment. That's a decision for India," he said.

According to the IMF, India will overtake China this year to become the fastest growing large economy in the world. Its chief Christine Lagarde has described India as the "bright spot" in a "cloudy global horizon."

Photograph: Reuters

Lalit K Jha
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