US wants India to open up more sectors for its companies

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 01, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin pose for photographs as they shake hands during a meeting in New Delhi, Friday, November 1, 2019.   -  PTI

New Delhi asks for Chabahar Port to be insulated from economic sanctions

The US has sought opening up of more sectors for its companies in India while New Delhi wanted an assurance from the Trump Administration that Chabahar Port in Iran would not be affected by the economic sanctions on that country.

Steven T Mnuchin, US Secretary of Treasury, said: “We welcome the growing bilateral foreign direct investment flows between our countries. And we look forward to the opening up of certain markets for US companies to continue to invest here. He was speaking at a joint press conference with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman following the conclusion of 7th India -US Economic & Financial Partnership meeting here. However, he did not elaborate about the sectors that the US wants India to open up further.

He said both the sides held broad discussions on regulatory issues, economic issues, bond markets, technical assistance and debt sustainability besides combating terrorist financing. “That’s something that we both see as a big priority,” he said while adding that both sides briefly touched on the trade relationship and expanding the trade relationship between the two countries.

Assuring India of proper supply of crude oil after the sanctions against Iran, Mnuchin said that the US is working with its allies to make sure that there is significant oil supply in the market to offset the impact of the sanctions. “We are sensitive to the fact that India has tremendous energy needs. We look forward to working with India on LNG and expanding their capabilities, but we had productive discussions on that,” he said.

In her response, Sitharaman said India explained its position, particularly the need for it to maintain land-based access to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port (Iran) not just for strategic and other reasons but also for Afghanistan’s sake. “We've explained the need for us to have to maintain our land-based access through Chabahar port considering the extent of our commitment for developing the social and other infrastructure in Afghanistan. Also, in the context of Pakistan continuously denying land access,” she said.

Joint statement

After the conclusion of meeting, a joint statement said that India and the US discussed policies to stimulate economic growth and noted the significant steps India has taken to strengthen the financial sector, including public sector bank recapitalisation and plans to merge some of the state-owned banks. Both sides also discussed capital flows, investment promotion related issues, and the external economic environment.

Both sides are committed to greater economic cooperation on global economic issues, both bilaterally and multilaterally in the G20 and other fora. India and the US look forward to enhanced collaboration to address the challenges to global growth under the G20 Presidency of Saudi Arabia. As India gears up for the 2022 Presidency of the G20, the USstands ready to support India in hosting a successful and focused Presidency.

The US and India recognised the importance of foreign portfolio investors for supporting economic growth, and discussed ways to build on India’s positive steps in further opening to greater foreign portfolio investment. Both sides welcomed the growing bilateral foreign direct investment between our countries and underscore the importance of India taking steps to improve its investment climate for all types of investors. These investments will help to boost growth for both countries, the statement said.

Published on November 01, 2019

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