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India, US CEOs discuss trade issues; Obama, Modi attend meet

US sanctions on companies in third countries, ease of doing business and intellectual property rights were among a dozen issues that figured at the India-US CEO Forum where US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were also present.

India’s top industrialists split among themselves issues of concern to the two countries and spoke on relevant areas only instead of speaking on all of them.

At the roundtable that preceded address by Obama and Modi, the Indian CEOs were allotted total time of only 18 minutes.

Sources privy to the discussions said 5 CEOs spoke for two minutes each, followed by an open discussion where the other CEOs got an opportunity to air their views.

While HDFC’s Deepak Parekh spoke on bilateral ease of doing business, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Enterprises focused on electronic cluster development and smart cities.

Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani covered agriculture, innovation and skill development. Biocon Chairman and MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw highlighted pharma and IPR issues plaguing the business relationship between the two nations.

Parekh, they said, also spoke on visa restrictions.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Chairman and Managing Director Dinesh K Sarraf talked about India-US not having a free-trade agreement (FTA) hampering import of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

India is seeking long term assured supply of natural gas from the US at competitive prices to meet its energy needs but Washington bars sale of LNG to nations with which it does not have FTA.

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