The Bilateral Investment Treaty being negotiated between India and the US will help provide strong rules on investor protection and effective means for resolving business disputes between the two countries, the American Government has said.

The US and Indian Governments are actively engaged in Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy & Environment Robert Hormats said.

“We are aiming for a BIT that provides a high level of openness to investment across the economy, strong rules on investor protection and transparency, and effective means for resolving investment disputes,” he said at the annual India Investment Forum here yesterday.

Hormats called on Indian companies to voice support for a strong agreement that would provide them with the same protections for their investment in the US that American investors would receive in India.

“We in Government are doing our part so smart investors and corporations can continue to allocate capital, investments and people to their most productive ends.

“In order to make a robust BIT Agreement a reality, the business leaders from Mumbai and Manhattan - perhaps even Delhi and Dallas, or Lucknow and Los Angeles - must spearhead private sector advocacy for an agreement,” he said.

Hormats pointed out that creating a stronger US and global economy, with more jobs for Americans, is the foremost priority of the Obama Administration.

The state of the global economy still poses acute challenges and the Obama Administration remains focused on creating US jobs and help the American economy in growing faster.

“But job creation is not a zero-sum activity,” he said, adding that America will continue to focus on representing the interests of its citizens and businesses as they participate in the global economy.

“India looms large within our economic statecraft agenda. When American firms look to India, they see extraordinary promise, enviable demographics, and a business culture that celebrates innovation and entrepreneurialism. We all know the Indian economy has vast potential,” he said.

The challenges that India is seeing due to slowdown in its GDP growth, devaluation of the rupee and high inflation are surmountable, Hormats added.

He said the challenges underscore that steps toward fiscal consolidation like reducing subsidies are very important.

(This article was published on September 25, 2012)
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