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Ahead of Barack Obama's visit, big sales pitch awaits US for Make in India
NEW DELHI: Ahead of President Barack Obama's visit, the government is readying a big sales pitch in the US for its Make in India initiative and simultaneously holding parleys with officials in Washington to unveil some big announcements during the trip later this month.
Department of industrial policy and promotion ( DIPP) secretary Amitabh Kant will head the team travelling to the US for an outreach on Make in India in Washington to drive investments in smart cities, industrial corridors and defence manufacturing. In New Delhi, a series of official-level talks, including video-conferences on intellectual property rights and investment in manufacturing are planned to show progress on key issues."
The fact that the US is holding talks signals improving ties, which will provide a big boost to the Prime Minister's economic vision. A series of meetings is planned to fast track discussions on various issues, including intellectual property rights, investment in manufacturing, totalisation pact, market access for agri products, easier visa regime etc.," a government official said.
The delegation will hold talks with several top companies to get investments in the industrial corridors. Four industrial cities are set to be rolled out by March, starting with Dholera in Gujarat.
The Make in India show in Washington on January 20 will be attended by all top American companies that are present in the country or have interests in here.
"The outreach will be about portraying India's improving ease of doing business environment and assuring US investors of a stable policy regime. We will do handholding for US investors," said another official who's part of the delegation.
The US is the sixth largest investor in India, much behind Japan and UK with $13 billion in investment from April 2000 to September 2014. US companies will be encouraged to set up manufacturing bases in the country and undertake R&D. India has liberalised foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in defence, construction and railways in the past few months as part of efforts to win overseas investment.
"The Make in India show is a way to sensitise American investors to the new India, where there is predictability and consistency in tax policies," said one of the officials cited above. The US has, however, said that domestic sourcing requirements were a deterrent as well as raised the need for a trade secrets protection law in India.
The video conference on intellectual property rights scheduled next week will be followed by another on investment in manufacturing in the week after. These working groups were set up under the trade policy forum or TPF, which took place after a gap of four years in November.
That saw comprehensive discussions on all aspects of bilateral trade and investment co-chaired by commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her US counterpart Michael Froman. India will also push for an easier visa regime for professionals and a totalisation pact, which would exempt such workers from having to pay social security levies.
In other interactions, the government will seek to clarify its stand. "IPR (intellectual property rights) video conferencing will be more about response from our side. They have concerns related to compulsory licensing etc, but there will be no shift in our stand. We will be updating about the IPR policy that is being formulated," said the second official cited above.
On agriculture market access, grapes will figure at the top of India's agenda. "Grapes are high-value and high-volume exports. Pest risk analysis has been done and now we are awaiting response from their side," said the official. The video conference on farm issues will be held by the end of the month.
The CEO delegation that will accompany President Obama, who is to be chief guest at India's Republic Day parade on January 26, will be led by Honeywell CEO David Cote.