Economy

US expresses concern over ‘difficulty’ in BIT talks

NAYANIMA BASU New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Richard Verma

 

The US has expressed severe concerns over “difficulty” arising in the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations with India even as it urged expediting the negotiations for greater flow of investments.

“One area where I would like to see greater progress is in our ability to launch negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT).  We have been on-again off-again for about 8 years in our pursuit of a treaty.  And I’m afraid things have become a bit more difficult,” US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said here on Monday at the Atlantic Council US-India Trade Initiative Workshop.

Verma specifically pointed out to the fact that the recent model draft BIT that was released by the Narendra Modi-government did not have some of the provisions that is there in the trade pacts that India has with Korea and Japan.

“In India’s recent model draft BIT, there were departures from the high standards that we had seen in other treaties India had negotiated, for example, with South Korea and Japan,” he said.

In fact, Verma said, the new model has reduced investment options and does not address the concerns of America’s investors. He also criticised that the model BIT requires disputes to be addressed in Indian jurisdictions before alternative investor-state dispute mechanisms can be initiated.

“We will keep working to narrow our gaps, but today, unfortunately those gaps do prevent us from moving forward and putting in place the kind of structural protections that investors in both our countries have come to expect in international commerce,” he added.

Verma also said the second round of India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) will take place in Delhi in August for which US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will visit India.

He added that the India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) will also be held in Delhi in October.

Published on June 27, 2016

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