India and the US on Wednesday announced they have decided to fast-track discussions on a bilateral investment treaty.
"We have decided to fast-track the technical negotiations," commerce minister Anand Sharma told reporters after a meeting with the US trade representative Ron Kirk.
The two agreed that both countries should re-invigorate those negotiations by holding such discussions as soon as possible, ideally before the next meeting of the trade policy forum (the bilateral body for trade discussion). There will be two rounds of negotiations before the next meeting of the ministerial level trade policy forum expected to be held in October 20011, in India.
"There is a visible and clear enthusiasm on the part of corporate leaders in both India and the US to interact more," Sharma said.
The two countries also decided to re-invigorate the trade policy forum and make it more robust and effective in resolving bilateral commercial issues, said a statement issued by the commerce ministry.
"The booming bilateral trade and investment flows between the United States and India support tens of thousands of critical jobs in both countries, and we know that will only grow significantly in the coming years," Kirk said in a statement issued by the USTR.
"However, to continue and grow our successes both India and the United States must take concrete steps to resolve long-standing market access and investment concerns," Kirk added.
Agency reports said that the bilateral trade in goods and services had exceeded $85 billion, Sharma said the talks focused on "what India's growth story stands for and what needs to be done to nurture US-India ties" as he apprised Kirk of various policy approaches being taken by India to sustain its high growth rate.
As he highlighted the opportunities offered by India's growth for the US businesses to develop partnerships with Indian private sector, the minister said he had also raised issues of concern for the Indian industry in their business operations.