Washington: Ahead of Vice President Joe Biden's visit, the US today welcomed India's decision to increase foreign direct investment in key sectors like defence, telecom and insurance.
"We welcome the FDI reforms that the Government of India announced this week as an important step and would continuing to work with the Government to further increase American investment in India," a senior Obama administration official said.
"We also advance the point that international firms can play a very important constructive role in developing the Indian retail sector, in a way that benefits Indian farmers and consumers as well as American business," the official said in response to a question.
He said that this would be a very important agenda item for Biden's meetings with his Indian counterparts next week.
Biden will be arriving in New Delhi on July 22 for a four day visit.
"We will raise the concerns that we have, just as we would invite the Indian Government to raise its concerns, its views on how we can facilitate economic opportunities to Indian companies," the official said.
He referred to the US concerns about intellectual protection in India and the importance of a stable tax regime.
During his meetings with Indian officials, Biden would describe America's views that reforms in these areas can help strengthen trade and investment ties and help further India's incredible growth story.
"This will be a chance to build upon all of the economic and commercial dialogue that we have going with India right now," he said.
Responding to questions on the civil nuclear deal, the senior administration official said the US companies are in active commercial discussions with their Indian counterparts.
Acknowledging that both side recognize the problem related to the liability issue, the official said the two countries are working to address the issue.
The actions taken by the Indian side, he said, indicates their willingness to move in that direction.
"Both of us regard this as a signature achievement and it is very important to continue the momentum.
We also recognize that there are complex issues related with it and we need to remain engaged to make progress on," he said.
Ahead of his India trip, Biden met representatives of the American business community and discussed with them their concerns, related to the investment environment and intellectual property.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin a major American defense manufacturer welcomed the Indian decision to increase FDI in the defense sector.
"Lockheed Martin welcomes the announcement by the Indian government to increase the FDI limit in the defense sector.
For more than 20 years, the Corporation has been engaging with local customers and industry in India, and we hope to grow these partnerships in the near future," a company spokesman said.
"Lockheed Martin already has a production facility near Hyderabad as part of a joint venture with the Tata group for the production of C-130J parts.
We also have other formal arrangements with private and public sector companies and are continuously looking for new ways to expand our business and local partnerships in India, the spokesman said.
First Published: Friday, July 19, 2013, 22:13