Sec. of State Clinton Urges India to Ease FDI Caps while Pres. Obama States Intent to Visit

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Photo: APJun. 4 – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for India to relax constraints on foreign direct investment into the country during her opening address at the inaugural U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington on Thursday.

“We urge India to ease caps on investment markets,” she said. Businesses in the United States are eager to invest in the retail sector in particular, but government FDI restrictions are proving to be a hindrance.

Indian and U.S. cabinet secretaries and ministers will meet in Washington on June 22 with members of the U.S.-India CEO Forum to hear recommendations on specific steps the two governments can take to expand trade and investment, Clinton added. Representing India, Minister for External Affairs S M Krishna, in turn, asked that the United States loosen export controls, specifically in the high technology sector.

“We had, again, a very good discussion on economic cooperation, high technology exports to India, cooperation in higher education, healthcare, science and technology, empowerment, agriculture, climate change, and energy,” Minister Krishna said. “In each of these areas, there is immense opportunity for mutually beneficial cooperation that will make a significant contribution towards creating jobs and prosperity in both countries.”

The United States and India are expected to put FDI caps, export controls, and high technology access towards the top of the list as the two countries continue to work together.

Later during Minister Krishna’s reception hosted by Secretary Clinton at the State Department, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would be making his first trip to India this coming November.

“(India) is a rising power and a responsible global power. That’s why I firmly believe that the relationship between the United States and India will be a defining partnership in the 21st Century,” Obama said during a brief, witty, and insightful speech. “India is indispensable to the future that we seek – a future of security and prosperity for all nations. That’s why a third of my Cabinet has already visited India – not only for the chapattis.”