This Article is From Feb 15, 2014

Most companies view India as massive opportunity: USIBC


Majority of American companies consider India as a massive opportunity as the country is on a growth trajectory, a top American business advocacy group today said.

Refuting allegations of few American businesses on Indian trade policies, US India Business Council (USIBC) president Ron Somers said: "There are rough patches along this road, and certainly much more work needs to be done, but few companies do not share the majority view that the India story is a massive opportunity, where growth is as clear as the horizon."

Mr Somers was speaking in his testimony before the US International Trade Commission (USITC), a quasi-judicial federal agency.

For the second day this week, the USITC conducted a hearing in connection with its investigation 'Trade,

Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy' as asked by US lawmakers. USITC is expected to come out with its report by November.

"We must refrain from hurting one another or damaging this relationship that yearns to grow stronger," Mr Somers said, cautioning those businesses who have in recent months launched massive anti-India campaign alleging that Indian trade policies and practices are hurting American businesses.

Arguing the need to "eliminate acrimony" given the anti-India campaign from a vested section, Mr Somers hoped the findings of this commission will recognise that a constructive and harmonious relationship between the US and India is in the best interest of both economies.

USIBC feels strongly that the best method to resolve differences and remove or minimise barriers to investment and trade is through ongoing and persistent dialogue, he said.

"We listen carefully to the objectives laid out by Government of India. Likewise, the Government of India has listened carefully to industry. This is not to say that all issues are resolved or that new issues affecting investment will not arise," he added.

"Certainly, differences of opinion remain regarding the speed and depth of reforms across various sectors. There is consensus, however, that India is a vitally important market," Mr Somers said.

India remains a steadfast beacon of hope and freedom in a region known for its 'tough neighbourhood', he said.

India has been instrumental in working with the US building out educational and democratic institutions in Afghanistan. India has worked closely with the US to restore peace in Sri Lanka and has brought its democratic influence to Nepal to encourage the embrace of democracy there, he said.

India has engaged in constructive initiatives with Bangladesh, with China, with Myanmar, and with Pakistan to encourage peace in the region, Mr Somers said.

Observing that the two countries must never take this relationship for granted, he said the bonds of partnership are still in formation.

"Major engagement only began between US and Indian stakeholders 20 years ago. We must nurture this friendship. And let us never forget the extraordinary progress we have made as new partners in just two decades,"Mr Somers said.