India, US agree to restart talks on bilateral investment treaty

Times of India | 12 Jan 2015

India, US agree to restart talks on bilateral investment treaty

Sachin Parashar, TNN

NEW DELHI: India and the US have reaffirmed commitment to the long-pending Bilateral Investment Treaty with PM Narendra Modi on Sunday conveying to visiting secretary of state John Kerry that New Delhi was prepared to hold early talks for the same.

Kerry too said the US would like to see the treaty take shape as early as possible. The BIT, the negotiations for which have lost steam in the past, was one of the economic issues which the two leaders focused on in their meeting on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar.

President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to India and issues related to environment and climate change too were discussed. Sources said the two leaders touched upon terror in the meeting with both sharing their thoughts over the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar and Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris. Modi is said to have told Kerry that all attempts should be made to fight the "forces of terrorism".

The last time negotiations for BIT took place between India and the US were in February last year. The US has been pushing India for BIT as it believes the treaty will facilitate protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

US secretary of state John Kerry (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Ahmedabad. (AP photo)

Making a strong case for early restart of negotiations, visiting US assistant secretary of state for economic affairs Charles Rivkin had said in November last year that IPR protection was critical as investors looked for transparency, predictability and rule of law. He said BIT, which is expected to lure more US companies to India, could transform economic ties between the two countries.

"We can do better to improve. I just want to quote an example related to Bollywood, which loses 40% of profits every year for lack of protection for IPR.

The US wants the Indian economy to grow and reach its potential. Entrepreneurs should know that ideas are not stolen as there is law in place for IPR protection," he had said.

source: Times of India