Millennium Post

Polite but firm, PC floors US critics of our economic policy

- Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday invited American companies to establish manufacturing plants in India, as he defended Indian economic policies as growth oriented and WTO complaint, and emphatically raised New Delhi's concerns over the comprehensive immigration reforms.
Chidambaram, who is here on a four-day trip to attend the annual leadership summit of the US-India Business Council and meet his American counterpart Jack Lew, on Thursday met leaders of the US corporate sector, who of late have been critical of Indian policies on trade and business related matters.

He also met Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.In his meeting with CEOs and senior leaders of companies, with substantial investments in India, Chidambaram emphasised the need for US companies to set up local manufacturing bases in India, saying 'it is in the mutual interest of both countries for India to become a large manufacturing economy'.

The companies were Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).The issues highlighted by the companies were related to transfer pricing; impact of the Comprehensive Immigration Bill recently passed by the US Senate on future business prospects of Indian IT companies operating in the US, and taxation.

The companies were appreciative of the measures taken to address concerns relating to Transfer Pricing. Chidambaram apprised these executives of the recommendations of the Arvind Mayaram Committee on enhancing FDI caps in many sectors, and the steps being taken to implement the recommendations.

He also underscored Indian concerns about the provisions in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill relating to skilled non-immigrant visas. He also met with the Chairman of the US Ex-Im Bank, Fred Hochberg and other senior officials.

In his meeting with the Senator Baucus, in addition to exchanging views on the global economic situation, Chidambaram mentioned that while some concerns have been expressed about the current business environment in India, the policies adopted by the government are 'pro-growth and WTO compliant'.

He stressed that India is committed to ensuring a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory investment environment for foreign investors seeking to do business in the country.

Chidambaram is expected to continue his meetings with the industry leaders and Congressmen. In the afternoon, he was scheduled to deliver a keynote address to the annual leadership summit of the US India Business Council. His visit comes at a time when there is an increasing disenchantment with Indian policies. Recently, more than 250 US lawmakers have written to either Secretary of State John Kerry or President Barack Obama expressing their concerns over the Indian policies, which they allege are discriminatory.
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