America open to FTA with India
NEW DELHI, MARCH 6: The US is open to a Free Trade Agreement with India but wants bilateral economic engagement to increase further, a senior US government official said.
"Some people suggest India-US FTA and I say why not. But we have to do a lot of work before that," Douglas Hartwick, Assistant US Trade Representative for South and South West Asia said at a meet on Indo-US Economic Cooperation.
He said while India-US economic relations have seen a remarkable growth in the last five years, they were not yet up to the level of China-US engagement. Hartwick said the deals on high technology and nuclear power between the two countries last year would boost growth of economic ties and 2007 would be the year of implementing these agreements.
The successful conclusion of Doha Round of talks at the WTO were a top priority for President George W Bush and the new Congress dominated by Democratic Party was reaching out and working with the administration on trade issues, he said.
Secretary in Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Ajay Dua said US should liberalise visa regime, recognise degrees awarded by Indian institutions and relax labour certification requirements for more trade in services. He also favoured increase in items of trade between the two countries. On demand from the US side for liberalising FDI limits and norms, Dua said these were constantly reviewed and whatever possible in a democracy was done.
He said despite restriction in certain areas, there was enough opportunity for foreigners to invest in India.