India, US discussing framework on investment, trade

Indo-Asian News Service | October 26th, 2009

India, US discussing framework on investment, trade

By IANS

NEW DELHI — India and US have made progress towards finalising a framework agreement on trade and investment, which will be signed soon, said visiting US Trade Representative Ron Kirk here Monday.

“We have made great progress towards a formal framework towards cooperation on trade and investment which we hope to sign in the very near future,” Kirk told reporters after co-chairing the sixth annual India-US Trade Policy Forum with Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

Describing the meeting as “extraordinarily productive”, Kirk said one of the goals for travelling to India within two months was to “improve the tone and frankness of the discussions”.

These discussions will help strengthen relations further ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit the US next month, he said.

There was “room for improvement”, especially in strengthening intellectual property and access of US goods and financial services into Indian markets, the US official said.

“In the much talked about example, we open up our agricultural market to Indian mangos. These freely flow into our country. In return, we had hoped to export pistachios, which are very strong staple of your diet, not grown domestically, and high-end motorcyles. Today, not one Harley Davidson motorcycle has been sold in India,” he said.

Kirk said the issue of allowing more H1-B visas to India was raised by the Indian delegation.

H-1B visas, which are non-immigrant US visas for skilled professionals, given for up to six years, are highly popular with Indian IT companies.

source: IANS