India on Tuesday sought to strike a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the US to further ease trade and economic ties.
Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, speaking at a function organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) said that India, which has firmly stood against any protectionist move, has been concluded several economic and trade agreements.
“Now after the successful visit of President Barack Obama, we should seriously consider to engage in negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement which encompasses trade, investment and services,” Sharma said.
Gary Locke, US commerce secretary, however said that there are several economic agreements that have been concluded for the US and “everything needs to be taken up in stages.”
“Right now, we have many agreements already concluded, the business communities are focusing on so we take steps at a time,” Locke said. Locke said that there were bilateral trade opportunities in sectors like energy, infrastructure and medical equipment.
US has urged India to remove trade and investment barriers. Locke said. “We were talking more in general terms about ensuring foreign direct investment in a whole host of fields and making sure that there is no barrier on investment, not just from the United States but from any other countries,” he said. US companies looking to invest in India would want restrictions on foreign investment, especially in multi-brand retail and defence lifted, the commerce secretary said.