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Trade, investment top India-US CEOs Forum agenda

business Updated: Jun 21, 2010 13:46 IST

Trade, investment, and an easier visa regime are expected to be the key focus as Indian and US policymakers and corporate leaders meet in Washington on Tuesday to discuss how to enhance their business ties.

India's Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee leads the high-powered team of policymakers including Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the India-US CEOs Forum.

Mukherjee will also have bilateral meeting with his US counterpart Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

The forum with 12 CEOs from each side is co-chaired by Tata group chairman Ratan Tata from the Indian side and Honeywell chief executive David M Cote from the US side.

The Indian business team includes Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Infosys Technologies CEO S Gopalakrishnan, Bharti group chairman Sunil Bharati Mittal, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh.
Others on the US side include Pepsico's Indra Nooyi, Citigroup's Vikram Pandit, United Technologies Corporation's Louis Chenevert, JP Morgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and McGraw Hill Companies chairman, Terry McGraw.

The forum has defined six priority initiatives: promotion of trade and industry, creation of an infrastructure development fund, promoting technology exchange in Agriculture, Bio-technology and Nano Technology, partnering in skills development, setting up an Indo-US Centre for Industrial R&D and establishing a dispute resolution mechanism.

Key issues identified for implementation by the forum in April 2008 included education and development of skills, funding of growth, research for alternative energy, visas, civil aviation and air traffic control, electricity among others.

The forum was first constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then US president George W. Bush in July 2005 with a mandate to develop a road map for increasing India-US partnership and cooperation at the business level.

During his first state visit of the Obama presidency last November, Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama re-constituted the forum, which also held its first meeting then in Washington. This would be the second meeting of the reconstituted forum.