Washington: US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner will launch a new bilateral economic dialogue with India with a focus on macroeconomic stability, financial markets and infrastructure financing, a senior US treasury official said on Wednesday.
The official, who will join Geithner in a delegation to India next week that will also include Federal Reserve vice-chairman Donald Kohn, said rebalancing the global economy will be a part of the discussions. He declined to comment when asked if the US was trying to recruit India as an ally in its push for more global currency flexibility.
“We don’t have a specific wish list, we certainly have views,” the official told a news briefing. “We are eager to see India continuing along its path of reform, continuing on a path of contributing to global macro stability, continuing to open its markets. These are all areas where continued success would bring great dividends, not just to the people of India, but also the people of the United States.”
Geithner will launch the bilateral talks during an 6-7 April visit to Delhi and Mumbai, where he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
Identifying opportunities: US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner will launch talks with India during his 6-7 April visit when he is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other officials. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
The talks, which include a main session including Geithner and Mukherjee and smaller meetings among other officials, were first announced during Prime Minister Singh’s visit to Washington last November. The discussions complement a strategic dialogue programme that the US shares with China, but will be more limited in scope.
The treasury official said the discussions will not tackle specific trade barriers and trade policy between the two countries and will not contain a strategic diplomatic component, as the US-China strategic and economic dialogue gained last year.
For example, there are no discussions planned on the issue of a bilateral civilian nuclear energy pact, the official said.
There will be significant focus on identifying opportunities for US firms to export to India and participating in the South Asian nation’s infrastructure development, the official said.
The two sides will also discuss infrastructure financing, with the US treasury offering expertise in helping India develop a municipal bond market, and India sharing experience in private sector infrastructure development. The discussions also will cover progress made by each country towards achieving economic recovery and financial stability, including rebalancing the global economy.
“India’s part of the G-20 (Group of Twenty) group of countries engaged in important discussions on rebalancing the global economy and certainly we will be discussing some of the issues in that context,” he said.
India’s chief economic adviser Kaushik Basu told Reuters earlier this month that India was unlikely to follow the US lead in putting pressure on China to revalue its yuan, which critics say is undervalued and gives the country an unfair export advantage.