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US, India conclave to boost business ties

Government and business leaders from India and the US are meeting in Washington this week to explore ways to remove investment barriers and deepen their commercial ties to achieve the full potential of their relationship.

"India is a long-term business opportunity that holds tremendous opportunities for industry," said Ron Somers, President of the US-India Business Council (USIBC), a trade advocacy group comprised of more than 350 of the top-tier US and Indian companies, ahead of the conclaves.

The USIBC's 38th anniversary leadership summit here July 11 will feature Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia from the Indian side.

The Indian government leaders will join the newly appointed US Trade Representative Michael Froman in identifying barriers to trade and investment and propose solutions to deepen the US-India commercial relationship which crossed USD 100 billion this year in two-way trade in goods and services, USIBC said.

The USIBC summit, themed 'Agenda for Progress', will focus on ways to make the US-India partnership stronger, to the benefit of both countries," said USIBC noting that Indian investment in the US recently touched USD 11 billion and helped create as many as 100,000 American jobs.

US-India CEO Forum chairs Ratan Tata of the Tata Foundation and Dave Cote of Honeywell will share their aspirations for a robust future of prosperity and job creation that will benefit both countries.

The CEO Forum will also hold a separate closed door session July 12 with the Indian side expected to raise issues like restrictive and discriminatory provisions in the US immigration reform bill particularly those relating to H-1B visas for skilled Indian techies.

Chidambram and Anand Sharma are also expected to have bilateral meetings with the US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Froman respectively.

USIBC will also release a new publication titled "Investing in America, How India Helps Create American Jobs" during the meeting, to demonstrate the ways the American economy is already benefiting from the successful bilateral and business relationship.

"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," Somers said.

"The result will be economic growth and job creation for both countries," he said.

Besides Tata, other Indian corporate leaders attending the USIBC summit would be Hari Bhartia of Jubilant, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Enterprises, Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, Preetha Reddy of Apollo Hospitals, and Analjit Singh of Max Healthcare.

Top US business leaders will include Ajay Banga of MasterCard, who serves as USIBC's chairman, Indra Nooyi of Pepsico, Sanjay Bhatnagar of Waterhealth International, Louis Chênevert of United Technologies Corporation, Wim Elfrink of Cisco, Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm, and Harold McGraw III of The McGraw-Hill Companies.