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PM Modi, President Obama pledge to establish Indo-US investment initiative

Washington DC, Oct. 1 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Barack Obama, in their bilateral talks held on Tuesday at the White House, pledged to establish an Indo-US investment initiative to further increase trade between the two nations.

In the joint statement released by Prime Minister Modi and President Obama, both leaders noted that the two-way trade between India and the U.S. has increased fivefold since 2001 to nearly USD 100 billion and committed to facilitate the actions necessary to increase trade another fivefold.

In order to raise investment by institutional investors and corporate entities, the leaders pledged to establish an Indo-U.S. investment initiative, led by the Ministry of Finance and the US Department of Treasury, with special focus on capital market development and financing of infrastructure. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama further pledged to establish an infrastructure collaboration platform, convened by the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Commerce to enhance participation of U.S. companies in infrastructure projects in India.

President Obama also welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s plan to extend basic financial services to all its citizens, giving them powerful tools to manage their finances and more fully participate in India’s growing economy. The two leaders also underlined the important contribution that U.S. locomotive technology, equipment to monitor rail system assets, and U.S. best practices can play in modernizing India’s vast railway network, including accessing programs of U.S. Trade and Development Agency in this work.

Prime Minister Modi and President Obama also discussed their concerns about the current impasse in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its effect on the multilateral trading system, and directed their officials to consult urgently along with other WTO members on the next steps. The leaders committed to work through the Trade Policy Forum to promote a business environment attractive for companies to invest and manufacture in the U.S. and India. Agreeing on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation, the leaders committed to establish an annual high-level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum.

Prime Minister Modi and President Obama also recognized in particular the contribution of the Indian and U.S. Information Technology (IT) industry and the IT-enabled service industry in strengthening India-U.S. trade and investment relations.

The two leaders further committed to hold public-private discussions in early 2015 under the commercial dialogue on new areas of cooperation, including innovation in advanced manufacturing. In order to share best practices in manufacturing and work toward greater harmonization of standards, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership program will start a dialogue with Indian counterparts. India and the U.S. plan to work expeditiously through several joint initiatives to facilitate greater confidence in cross-border trade and investment.

Prime Minister Modi and President Obama stated that they look forward to the annual U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership in early 2015. They also welcomed the expansion of the partnership in oversight of financial institutions, including between the Reserve Bank of India and the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. They also agreed to reinvigorate the India-U.S. CEO Forum, and President Obama welcomed India’s offer to host the Forum for the second time in early 2015.

Prime Minister Modi, who was on a five-day visit to the U.S., left for New Delhi on Tuesday evening. (ANI)