India should liberalise FDI regime for insurance, retail: US | business | Hindustan Times
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India should liberalise FDI regime for insurance, retail: US

business Updated: Mar 10, 2011 20:02 IST

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The US on Thursday said India should further liberalise its foreign direct investment regime in sectors like insurance and multi-brand retail.

"...US companies to invest in India would be helped by allowing US firms to operate in some sectors that have so far been difficult for them to operate in (like) insurance," USA Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Additional Secretary Jose W Fernandez said.

Speaking at an Indo-American Chamber of Commerce Conference here, he added there are number of sectors where the US investment would be faciltated... multi-brand retail could be one.

At present, 26% FDI is allowed in the insurance sector, while FDI is not permitted in multi-brand retail.

The Insurance Bill, when enacted, would allow raising the FDI cap for the industry to 49%. However, it has been awaiting approval since 2008 as it was delayed by strong opposition from the Left parties.

The industry ministry is in the process of evaluating the comments, which it has received on its discussion paper on liberalising FDI in multi-brand retail and defence sector.

Talking about Indian and American companies partnership in developing clean technology, Fernandez said, "India could be a wonderful place for the US to partner in developing clean technology, solar energy space and wind energy."

He added, a number of US companies are eager to work with Indian companies in this regard.

To attract investment and technological know-how for developing urban infrastructure, Fernandez said India needs to make reforms to increase transparency and predictability in investment climate, to ensure transparent bidding practices in line with global standards and to bring down barriers to trade and investment.

"I think it is one of the consideration (land record and transparent investment climate) that the US company or any company has in mind when it makes investment in India," he said.

He, however said, ...the US would like to be a partner in India's growth and stands ready to help.

The infrastructure sector requires an investment of a whopping USD 1 trillion in the 12th Plan, beginning next year (2012-17).