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India, US to brainstorm bilateral trade and economic ties

WASHINGTON: The US and India are all set to brainstorm next week their bilateral economic relationship and discuss a pathway to avoid a trade war between the two largest democratic countries of the world.


The development comes agianst the backdrop of a section of US lawmakers and businesses increasingly raising their ante against what they allege restrictive and protectionist trade policies of New Delhi. 

Finance Minister P Chidambaram; Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, along with a battery of top Indian corporate leaders led by Ratan Tata; and Sunil Bharti Mittal are scheduled to hold a series of meetings and brainstorming sessions with their US counterparts in both public and private forums. 

They would not only raise issues including H-1B to the Americans, but also explain to them the Indian policies, which of late has generated much heat at the Capitol Hill. 

In all these meetings, the US would be represented by the Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew; and the US Trade Representative, Michael Froman; -- both of whom are close confidant of the US President - and top American CEOs including 
Indra Nooyi of Pepsico; Ajay Banga of MasterCard; and Dave Cote of Honeywell, among others. 

While majority of these bilateral meetings next week and the India-US CEOs Forum meeting on July 12 would be closed doors, it is the 38th annual Leadership Summit of the US India Business Council (USIBC) which will give the officials and CEOs to publicly express their views on July 11 at the US Chambers of Commerce, a block away from the White House. 

Noting that India is a long-term business opportunity that holds tremendous opportunities for industry, 
USIBC President Ron Somers said: "We are looking forward to productive meetings that bring together both governments and US and Indian business leaders to discuss proactive ways to eliminate investment barriers and deepen commercial ties." 

With the theme 'Agenda for Progress' the USIBC meeting will focus on ways to make the US-India partnership stronger, to the benefit of both countries. 

Chidambaram, Sharma and Froman are scheduled to deliver key note address to the annual USIBC meeting.