US-India trade group pushes for BIT

June 26th, 2012 - 10:33 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 26 (IANS) A leading US-India trade group has launched a major effort to promote a high-standard US-India Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) calling it the ‘next hill to climb’ in their strategic partnership.

“A US-India Bilateral Investment Treaty is truly the ‘next hill to climb’ in the strategic partnership,” said Ron Somers, president of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) comprising over 300 top US and a score Indian companies, Monday.

USIBC’s Coalition for Jobs and Growth will serve as the organizing body to provide input to US negotiators and to promote support and understanding of the importance of a US India BIT and its ultimate ratification by the US Senate, the group said.

Co-Chaired by Susan G. Esserman, a USIBC board member, former Deputy US Trade Representative and currently partner at Steptoe & Johnson, the coalition will continue the work begun by USIBC’s Trade and Investment Initiative in 2007.

USIBC was then the first advocate for a bilateral investment treaty, eventually succeeding in placing the BIT on the bilateral agenda when the two countries announced BIT negotiations in 2008, it said in a release.

The coalition announced at a USIBC briefing with US BIT negotiators, will leverage the collective strength of industry, academic experts and the Indian American community to make sure this critical agreement is completed and ratified.

“The BIT will engender greater cooperation and collaboration, protect and promote foreign investment and ultimately lead to economic growth and job creation in both countries,” Somers said.

“USIBC, through the Coalition for Jobs and Growth, is committed to informing negotiations and pushing forward on eventual ratification of a robust treaty,” he said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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