New Delhi, July 15: Top CEOs of India and the US on Tuesday discussed through a telephonic conference, ways to boost bilateral investments in sectors such as healthcare, aerospace, defence, infrastructure, ICT, and financial services, according to a commerce ministry statement. The forum was co-chaired by Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran and James Taiclet, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lockheed Martin.
Chandrasekaran highlighted the need for a "free trade agreement" as a natural progression and urged the US government to recognize the contribution of India's human capital to the US economy, and also the need for unhindered cross-border mobility of such talent, it said on Wednesday.
Last month, US President Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation to block the entry of foreign workers for the rest of the year on H-1B visas for skilled employees, and L visas for managers and specialized workers being transferred within a company.
On the other hand, Taiclet highlighted the areas of unrestricted foreign ownership in certain sectors, policy stability, predictability, timely dispute resolution, protection of intellectual property and continuing investment in infrastructure as some of the key focus areas. He also hoped that the cooperation between the two countries during the COVID-19 pandemic would continue in areas of building infrastructure, increasing bilateral investments, and generating jobs.
"A new set of reforms and policy recommendations, deliberated jointly by CEO forum members, were presented at the meeting to further boost bilateral investment opportunities across key sectors of the economy, including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, aerospace and defence, infrastructure and manufacturing, entrepreneurship and promoting small businesses, energy, water, environment, ICT and digital infrastructure, financial services, trade and investments, among others," it said.
The meeting was chaired jointly by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce. The ministry statement said that Goyal emphasised on the importance of small businesses in the economies of both the countries, and the need to increase employment and skilling in the sector.
Kenneth Juster, the US Ambassador to India, brought the attention of the forum to the vast untapped potential of the India-US commercial relationship, and the potential risk of inward-looking policies in a post-COVID-19 world.
The US remained India's top trading partner for the second consecutive fiscal in 2019-20. The bilateral trade between the US and India stood at $88.75 billion in the last fiscal as against $87.96 billion in 2018-19.