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Bilateral investment treaty between US & India to transform economic relations, says US official

United States and India will soon restart negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty (BIT)  and it will transform in many ways economic and bilateral relations between the two countries, announced the visiting US assistant secretary of state economic and business affairs Charles H Rivkin. During his interaction with reporters here today, Rivkin said: ”Right now US and China had held 15 rounds of talks on BIT and it is time for India and US to get talks back on track. Discussions took place in February last time. Now we hope to resume talks soon as BIT will be a terrific foundation for bilateral relations.”

Rivkin’s statement is crucial at a time when India has signed bilateral investment protection and promotion agreement (BIPPA) with 82 countries. Rivkin said BIT will also help ensure protection of intellectual rights for investors. He informed that India has received foreign direct investment to the tune of $ 11.84 billion from the US during April 2000 and January 2014.

Further, Rivkin made a strong case for India to put in place special law for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) to help further improve bilateral relationships and growth of two economies. “IPR protection is critical as investors look for at least the presence of transparency, predictability and the rule of law. We can do better to improve. I just want to quote an example related to Bollywood, which loses  40% of profits every year for lack of protection of IPR. US wants India’s economy to grow and reach its potential. An entrepreneur should know that his ideas will not be stolen as there is a law in place for the protection of IPR,” he noted.

The US assistant secretary of state said that a high-level working group on IPR will meet on November 24 and 25. “I will take up the IPR protection issue during my participation in the tech summit happening in New Delhi next week. India needs to protect is own investments, its own extra ordinary talent in this country. I do not understand logic against protection of IP. It certainly helps in realising potential of any nation, specifically India,” Rivkin noted.

On India reaching an agreement with the United States on public stockpiling of food, Rivkin hailed it as the biggest development for Indo-US ties in last 20 years: “It is a wonderful news. President Obama has already  thanked  and acknowledged Prime Minister Modi making this happen. It is the first multilateral trade deal done in 20 years in WTO. It will reduce cost for transactions, improve the integration of supply chain and majority the benefits will go to the developing nations including India. It is a great news for India, great news for global trade.”

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