India and the US will resume talks on a bilateral investment treaty that has been in the works for almost seven years but is being held back by several issues, including differences over intellectual property rights.
“Economic growth in the two countries is becoming stronger. We will resume dialogue on bilateral investment treaty,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a joint press meeting he addressed with US President Barack Obama Sunday.
The treaty has been discussed only sporadically since 2008 and is stalled over differences on a range of prickly issues, including intellectual property rights. The proposed pact is aimed at protecting investments between the two nations.
Trade between India and the US rose five-fold from $12 billion in 2001-02 to $62 billion in 2014-15.
“We want to trade even more,” Obama said. “We have identified the bilateral investment treaty to discuss further.”
Estimates suggest trade between the two countries is expected to cross $100 billion soon.
The two leaders were looking forward to enhanced engagement on intellectual property rights in 2015 a ministry of external affairs statement said. Progress was made on intellectual property during the last round of the India-US trade policy forum held in November, it said.
India’s exports to the US have risen from $9 billion in 2001-02 to around $39 billion in 2014-15, commerce ministry data shows. The US has been India’s top export destination through these years. During the period, imports from the US registered a steep rise from $3 billion in 2001-02 to $22 billion in 2014-15.
“Negotiating a treaty is a very, very detailed matter, very detailed clauses have to be looked at, multiple interests are involved,” said Anand Mahindra, the group chairman and managing director, Mahindra and Mahindra. “So it would be wrong to create unnecessary pressure on an outcome.”
During 2000 and 2013, foreign direct investment flows from the US to India were estimated at $14 billion, nearly 6% of the total FDI.