First India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in September

New Delhi, Aug 12:

The first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (SACD) will be held in Washington in September, a senior US administration official said here on Wednesday.


“The Strategic and Commercial Dialogue will be taking place in six to seven weeks time,” US Under Secretary of Commerce Stefan Selig said at a press conference.

“The dialogue will have four pillars in the way of ease of doing business, innovation and entrepreneurship, smart cities project in India and the harmonisation of standards to increase bilateral trade,” Selig, who looks after international trade, said.

“I am due to meet (Commerce) Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shortly to discuss about our joint preparations,” he added.

The announcement of SACD was made in New Delhi in January during US President Barack Obama’s India visit.

Noting that there had been improvement in the ease of doing business owing to efforts made by the Narendra Modi government, Selig stressed on the need for business to have “predictability” in the place they are investing in.

In this regard, he spoke of the need to remove “burdensome regulations” in tax policy and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR).

“The more we can bring about predictability, the more we can do business,” Selig said.

During his visit to the US in June, union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had allayed concerns of American investors that India would not make retrospective tax demands.

Jaitley had said in an interaction at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York: “I have no difficulty in saying that any decision which is retrospective, except in some very unusual circumstances, which creates fresh liabilities is certainly not acceptable.

Last month, Sitharaman said India’s IPR laws were of high quality and compliant with the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.

“The legal framework that we have is fully TRIPS compliant. There is no need for apprehension in any corner of the world that Indian patents, copyright are well protected,” she said here.

Selig also said that infrastructural bottlenecks in India was an issue and that smart cities development with a focus on renewable energy was one of the pillars of the developing US-India cooperation.

In this connection, he lauded the World Bank recent signing of a $250 million loan agreement for improvement of rural water and sanitation in Punjab.

The project will aim for a water connection and a toilet for every rural household. It is expected to directly benefit an estimated 8.5 million rural people in Punjab, including over 4 million women beneficiaries and 2.5 million belonging to the scheduled castes. (IANS)

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