US keen on helping TN achieve Vision 2023 goals | SupportBiz

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US keen on helping TN achieve Vision 2023 goals

The United States is committed to help Tamil Nadu realise the goals set in its Vision 2023 document, to put the state on par with upper middle income countries in Southeast Asia, said the US Ambassador to India Nancy J Powell. The Vision 2023 document, released in March 2012, targets 11 percent growth in the gross state domestic product (GSDP) for Tamil Nadu over the next 10 years.

Speaking at a function organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Chennai, Powell said: "The United States is committed to helping Tamil Nadu realise these goals by building on a trade relationship that stretches back for centuries."

According to Powell, the US appointed its first Consular Agent to Chennai in 1794.

She said that Tamil Nadu is home to major American companies in almost every economic sector creating direct and indirect jobs.

"Moving forward, the United States is committed to working with progressive state leaders to reduce barriers to trade and investment and strengthen mutually beneficial economic relationships between our two countries," Powell said.

She said that progressive states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat present an incredible opportunity for American businesses.

The US mission in India would expand state-level trade and investment between US and India, Powell said.

Citing consultancy firm McKinsey's report, Powell said that India will need to invest USD143 billion in health-care, USD392 billion in transportation infrastructure, and USD1.25 trillion in energy production by 2030 to support its rapidly expanding population.

Powell said that US companies can help India accomplish these goals by reducing barriers to foreign investment.

Referring to the challenges in growth of bilateral trade between India and the US, Powell said that she is concerned about the high tariff and non-tariff barriers, restrictions on foreign investment, lack of transparency and defence offset requirements.

"The adoption of manufacturing policies discriminatory to foreign companies and the inclusion of retroactive tax provisions in the Finance Bill are two examples," Powell said.

Referring to the discussions between India and the US on drafting a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), she said that a new round of negotiations will begin soon.

"A BIT would enhance transparency and predictability for investors, and support economic growth and job creation in both our countries," she said.

Stating that the defence equipment deals will bring about the highest growth rates that the India-US partnership has experienced, Powell remarked: "We are poised to sign an additional USD8 billion in Direct Commercial and Foreign Military Sales (FMS)."

With the C-17 and C-130J (military aircrafts) sale, the US had more than doubled its FMS and, in the process, made India the third largest FMS market for 2011, Powell said.

Tracing the economic ties between the two countries over the years, Powell said the bilateral trade is expected to touch the USD100 billion mark this year.