Modi invites US business, says GST will ease way

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his most compelling invitation to American business to invest in India, telling them that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that will come into effect from July 1 could be a subject of study in US business schools.

Modi, on a two-day visit to the US capital, held a roundtable here on Sunday with 20 top executives of American companies. Among those who attended were Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Mastercard President Ajay Banga.

"The implementation of the landmark initiative of GST could be a subject of studies in US business schools," Modi told the gathering, according to a tweet by Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay.

"The whole world is looking at India. 7,000 reforms alone have been done by the government for ease of business," Modi said, as per another tweet by Baglay.

Foreign investors too have been eagerly looking forward to the rollout of the single pan-India GST, which will replace the existing myriad central and state levies on both goods and services.

"Growth of India presents win-win partnership for India and US both. American companies have a great opportunity to contribute," said Modi. "If America becomes stronger, India will be a natural beneficiary."

Current India-US bilateral trade is balanced adversely against the latter, while New Delhi has earlier reaffirmed that this trade was a "win-win situation" for both countries.

Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in New Delhi earlier this month that while Indian goods exported to the US were very competitively priced, Indian professionals had contributed much to the growth of the American IT industry.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister pointed out opportunities for tourism through developing hotels in the "PPP (public private partnership) model" at 500 railway stations, Baglay said.

"Interacted with top CEOs. We held extensive discussions on opportunities in India," Modi tweeted later.

The CEOs lauded the Modi's demonetisation and digitisation initiatives and the GST, Baglay said. They also expressed support for Make in India, Digital India, Start Up India and other initiatives of the government.

"CEOs applaud reform measures and steps taken by the government to improve ease of doing business.

"CEOs outline priorities in India and suggestions for mutually beneficial partnerships in line with inclusive growth," he said in a series of tweets.

Pichai told reporters after the meeting that Google was excited about investing in India and that US companies are looking forward to the roll out of the GST.

"Good," Apple CEO Tim Cook told reporters, describing the outcome of the meeting.
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