US, India business leaders press for free trade agreement by 2015June 25th, 2009 - 12:11 pm ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 25 (IANS) US and Indian business leaders and policy experts want Washington and New Delhi to reach a broad-based free trade agreement by 2015.
“Both governments should devote priority attention on crafting a bilateral free trade mechanism relevant to the advanced technology sectors that is open to the participation of other countries,” they said in a new report.
Here are the other key recommendations of the joint task force set up by the Pacific Council on International Policy and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI):
Conclude an Investment Treaty
. Launch formal negotiations on an agreement to regulate the growing bilateral investment relationship.
Reinvigorate the Economic Dialogue
. A senior US official should be designated to work with New Delhi on defining a mutual vision for economic interaction in the years ahead.
. Both governments should undertake a comprehensive review of the export controls that still inhibit bilateral trade in high technology goods and services and develop a joint plan for their maximum-possible reduction.
Fully Implement the Nuclear Agreement
. New Delhi should open its state-owned nuclear energy establishment to private-sector participation and commit to definite policies regarding foreign involvement and investment, including the enactment of a civil nuclear liability law that would enable the full participation of US firms.
Positive-Sum Action to Expand the Global Talent Pool
. India should promote greater involvement by foreign educational institutions in addressing its human capital challenges.
. Besides allowing foreign universities to operate on their own, New Delhi ought to create a handful of experimental Special Education Zones in which US and Indian institutions run jointly-administered colleges and universities.
Enhance Science and Technology Cooperation
. Promptly draft a comprehensive roadmap for deeper science and technology cooperation, backed up with a sufficient level of funding specifically earmarked for bilateral projects.
Strengthen the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum
Incorporate India into Global Governance Structures
. Washington should champion New Delhi’s membership in the G-8 and in the APEC process.
Strengthen Energy and Environmental Cooperation
. The United States and India should revitalize their ministerial-level energy dialogue and charge it with drafting a detailed agenda to stimulate joint collaboration on energy innovation and coordination of research efforts.
. Washington and New Delhi should craft a bilateral agreement eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers on clean-energy technologies and services, promoting investment flows in this sector, and clarifying intellectual property protections and technology-transfer rights.
Launch the Second Green Revolution
. The United States should quickly renew its commitment to the Agriculture Knowledge Initiative, at a higher level of financial support and for a longer period.
. Washington and New Delhi should explore deepening the valuable linkages between American land-grant institutions and their counterparts in India.
Exploit Synergies in the Pharmaceutical Sector
. The United States and India should accelerate their harmonisation of pharmaceutical testing protocols and product standards.
. Both governments need to reach a stronger common understanding of intellectual property rights.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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