Lifting FDI curbs will help India trigger fund inflows: Locke

February 11th, 2011 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Mumbai, Feb 11 (IANS) Reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers and lifting restrictions on foreign direct investment (FDI) could help India trigger fund inflows, crucial to help fix the country’s creaking infrastructure, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said here Friday.”Higher investments flowing in to build food storage facilities will help smoothen the supply chain and, in turn, lower food prices,” he told reporters here.

While highlighting the fact that India has made a significant progress in opening its markets to US companies, Locke, however, said that a lot more remains to be done in this direction.

Leading a hi-tech delegation of CEOs of 24 US companies, Locke’s visit is the first secretary-led business development mission to India since 1997 and the first cabinet secretary visiting India since President Barack Obama in November last year.

Answering a question on the US visa fee hike, Locke said it is a temporary measure and applies to only certain sizes of businesses.

“The visa fee hike in targeted at Indians or Indian technology companies only. It is aimed at all companies that have more than 50 percent of their workers on H1 visas. We do understand the sensitivity of this, but it is only for a temporary period,” he said.

Locke said that the CEOs of the 24 US businesses explored collaboration opportunities in civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defence and homeland security and information and communications technology in India.

He also said that expanding US exports to India represents the kind of mutually beneficial trade that creates jobs in both India and the US and will help improve the quality of life for the people of India.

“This is really a win-win opportunity for the people and businesses of both the countries,” Locke said.

Earlier Friday, Locke met with the famed Dabbawalas of Mumbai and appreciated their management skills and strategising abilities.

Locke also met the the Reserve Bank of India Governor D.Subbarao.

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