US remains a prime source of investment: Pranab

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the US remains a prime source of investment and an important trading partner for India.

“Economic policy, finance and trade constitute important planks of our bilateral relations. For us, the US remains a prime source of investment, technology and an important trading partner,” Mukherjee said while addressing a Indo-US CEOs forum meeting here.

The meeting has been organized against the backdrop of the visit of US President Barack Obama.

“As we make efforts to increase investment in infrastructure, and give a fresh impetus to the manufacturing sector, the importance of our partnership with the US will increase,” Mukherjee said.

This mutually beneficial engagement would stimulate innovation, spur job creation, and promote sustainable and inclusive growth in both countries, he added.

The Finance Minster also said the bilateral investment treaty that is being negotiated with the US will improve flow of investment from America.

“We are currently negotiating a bilateral investment treaty (with the US) and are committed to take further initiatives that will contribute to creating a more conducive environment for investment flows”, Mukherjee said.

Highlighting that India has emerged as an attractive global investment destination, he said, infrastructure sector alone requires investment of USD 514 billion for the 11th Plan (2007-08 to 2011-12). Almost 30 per cent of this investment is envisaged to come from private sources.

For the 12th Five Year plan (2012-13 to 2016-17), the investment in infrastructure is envisaged at USD 1 trillion, he said, adding, this magnitude of investment would require innovative modes of financing.

The meeting was attended by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack from US side, and Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, from Indian side among others.

Besides, CEOs of different US and Indian companies were part of the Forum.

Earlier in the day, Geithner met Mukherjee and discussed ways of deepening economic ties and re-balancing global growth.

The two Ministers are understood to have discussed the cooperation at the G-20 forum, which would lead the economies worldwide to the higher growth terrain.

They also discussed technical cooperation on capital markets, infrastructure finance, and anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
The Finance Minister said, “You are all aware that Secretary Geithner and I launched the Financial and Economic Partnership when he visited Delhi in April this year.”

The partnership will strengthen engagement in economic, financial and investment related issues, he said.

Geithner arrived in the national capital yesterday to join Obama.

Mukherjee also informed that a Committee has been set up to consider the recommendations of the Indo-US CEOs Forum under the Chairmanship of Deputy Chairmanship of Planning Commission. The panel has already met twice since its inception.

While acknowledging that the World economy is showing some signs of recovery, the Finance Minister said the pace and shape of the recovery across countries, both in the developed and the emerging world, is varied and perhaps uncertain in some instances.

“At home, we have done better than what was perhaps anticipated. While we have got certain things right, there are others that need our attention and follow-up, both at the international as well as the national levels,” he said.

-PTI

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