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Geithner welcomes India's market-opening reforms

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner welcomed today a string of economic reforms in India that open up large sectors of the economy to foreign companies.

business Updated: Oct 09, 2012 15:49 IST

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner welcomed Tuesday a string of economic reforms in India that open up large sectors of the economy to foreign companies.

Washington, which is keen to forge a closer diplomatic and commercial relationship with India as an ally in Asia, has been pushing for better access for its companies in the vast and largely untapped South Asian market.

The reforms are "obviously very promising. They will be welcomed around the world", Geithner told a news conference in New Delhi following talks with his Indian counterpart, P. Chidambaram.

The measures "will help provide stronger economic growth and stronger growth in private sector", he added.

Geithner, who is accompanied by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, said his visit to India was to demonstrate his commitment to a "very promising economic relationship."

Since mid-September, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Congress-led government has opened the retail, broadcasting and aviation sectors to foreign companies and proposed overseas investment in the insurance and pension industries.

US supermarket giant Walmart intends to be one of the first companies to benefit, saying it will open its first store for consumers in the next 18-24 months. It already operates as a wholesaler in India.

In April, Geithner criticised proposed legislation to chase overseas firms for taxes on mergers involving Indian assets, saying the move had "dampened enthusiasm about India's investment climate".

Chidambaram, who took over in July, has since said the proposed law will be reviewed.

Washington is still pushing for business in the fast-growing Indian atomic energy sector after being disappointed that a landmark 2008 nuclear deal failed to yield contracts for its reactor manufacturers such as Westinghouse Electric.

First Published: Oct 09, 2012 15:48 IST