India, US CEOs to set up working groups to boost trade, investments

  • US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross participated through telephone as his flight got cancelled due to bad weather conditions
  • Issues like data localisation, e-commerce and the GSP were not discussed during the commercial dialogue

First Published14 Feb 2019
(Photo: Reuters)

India-US CEOs Forum Thursday decided to set up working groups on financial services, healthcare and defence with a view to accelerate trade and investments between the two countries.

The three working groups will be in addition to four such groups, which were established to deal with issues concerning energy, water and environment; ICT, emerging technologies and digital infrastructure; entrepreneurship, inclusive growth, and promoting small business; and infrastructure and manufacturing.

These issues, among others, were discussed during the India-US CEO Forum meeting, along with the India-US Commercial dialogue, attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross participated through telephone as his flight got cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

Issues like data localisation, e-commerce and the generalised system of preferences (GSP) were not discussed during the commercial dialogue.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Ramesh Abhishek said that four working groups are established and three more would be set up.

The CEOs of both the sides gave some report, but "they are not detailed and comprehensive as such. We would like to have CEOs from both the sides in each of these groups. They will work on more detail," he said.

He added that three more groups would be set up in areas of -- financial services, trade and investment; healthcare and pharma; and defence and aerospace.

Prabhu and Ross expressed their resolve to work together to consider the recommendations for appropriate action.

The co-chairs for the US-India CEO Forum are Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, and James Taiclet, Chairman, President and CEO of American Tower Corporation.

There were eight CEOs particpated from the US side. From India the CEOs who attended the meet include Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal, GAIL Chairman B C Tripathi, and Bharat Forge CMD Baba Kalyani.

Juster said that the working groups will be providing recommendations to the governments.

Abhishek added that the CEO forum will come out with some joint recommendations on "what the two governments can do to promote more economic and commercial relationship between the countries".

They give suggestion that while physical meeting may not happen all the time, there could be a meeting through video conferencing once in a quarter, he added.

When asked whether the issue of steel and aluminium duty imposed by America came up for discussion, the ambassador said that this forum does not deal with these issues.

The working groups, he said, will come out with tangible recommendations that can advance the economic growth of both the counties and create more jobs.

Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said that "in commercial dialogue we did not have discussion on either (steel and aluminium duties and data) of these issues".

India's exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

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