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`US cos facing hurdles in doing business with India'

Our Bureau

Kolkata , June 16

THE US Consul General in Kolkata, Mr George N. Sibley, has enumerated the impediments faced by US companies and agencies when they seek to do business with their Indian counterparts.

Speaking at the Export Summit organised here by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Eastern Region (CII-ER), Mr Sibley said there was potential to increase bilateral trade between the two countries. However, the scope in this regard was hindered by protectionism and lack of transparency in Government projects.

According to him, the US exports to India grew 19 per cent last year even as Indian exports to the US went up by 11 per cent. The figures appeared impressive because the base was very low. He said a lot was required to be done to augment bilateral trade between the two countries.

In his address, the Consul General of Thailand in Kolkata, Mr Wanna Perngmark, said bilateral trade between India and Thailand was expected to touch $2 billion this year, up from $1.5 billion recorded in 2003. Stating that the free trade agreement between the two countries would be implemented by 2006, he said the potential areas of investment in Thailand were services and technology, education & training and consultancy & IT.

Mr Shaikh Qamrul Hasan, First Secretary of the Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh, said talks were currently being held for bilateral investment treaties between the two countries. Joint Secretary-level talks would soon be held for expanding trade through the land route. Bangladesh, he said, was seeking Indian investment in IT and agro-based industries.

At a session held later in the day, the role of enablers for enhancing exports was discussed. Senior officials of the customs department said infrastructure was being beefed up with a view to speeding up clearances and allied formalities. The number of EDI locations was being augmented and problems at land customs stations were being addressed, they said.

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