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Obama, Modi to jointly address Indo-US CEO forum

Visiting US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will jointly address the India-US CEO Forum meeting in New Delhi this evening.

Trade and economic issues, including visa and impediments hampering investments, are likely to figure in their respective addresses.

The ‘Make In India’ campaign and the ease of doing business will also be the focus of the meeting, reports said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are expected to attend.

Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Bharti Enterprises chief Sunil Mittal, ICICI Bank Managing Director and CEO Chanda Kochhar, Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani, and other Indian CEOs are expected to be present on the occasion.

From the US side, Pepsico’s Indira Nooyi, Mastercard’s Ajay Banga, Westinghouse President and CEO Daniel Roderick will be joined by Honeywell chief CEO David Cote to attend the CEO roundtable. 

Trade between India and the US rose five-fold from $ 12 billion in 2001-02 to $ 62 billion in 2014-15. President Obama, in his statement on sunday had expressed hope that the trade between the two countries will cross $ 100 bn soon.

Indian companies expect a big push to the nuclear energy sector after the announcement of an agreement on commercial cooperation with the US on Sunday.

The two countries had signed a landmark civilian nuclear deal in 2008 during the visit of then US President George Bush but it was stuck due to a dispute over India’s liability law.

US companies, on the other hand, have been demanding changes in Indian labour laws, which currently make it hard for employers to hire or let go of employees easily. US companies also have differences with Indian intellectual property rights, which they feel allow Indian companies to get around global patent regimes. This is particularly true of the pharmaceutical sector, where Indian companies have taken the lead in generic versions using the process-based exemption provided in Indian patent laws.


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