Conveyed ‘idea of a bilateral investment treaty with US’ to PM Modi : Ajay Banga

New York, Sept. 25 (ANI): USIBC Chairman and Mastercard CEO Ajaypal Singh Banga today said that he had a very constructive dialogue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which he discussed the idea of a bilateral investment treaty with the United States and also shared his ideas on how India can join the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

“On global trade, what I discussed was the idea of a bilateral investment treaty with the United States and the importance that that it will provide on predictability. I also discussed something that Kevin Rudd, who is the ex-Prime Minister of Australia; Mr. Shyam Saran, who is India’s ex- Foreign Secretary, and I have brought together in an effort for India to join APEC, which will be good for both APEC and India,” Banga told ANI here.

He, however, said that if India was looking to live up to join those kinds of world trade bodies then ‘domestic reforms’ would become an important part of the equation.

Banga also spoke about how the Prime Minister had shown an interest in knowing what the Americans were thinking about investment in India.

“He raised the topic of what the American businesses were thinking about the investment climate in India which showed that he is keen to listen and engage in dialogue. So, we had a very constructible dialogue,” he said.

The Mastercard CEO conveyed to the Prime Minister that the American businesses were looking principally for ‘predictability in policy’, which included getting the GST Bill passed and the clarity of the Minimal Alternative Tax that has been passed but took almost a year to come through.

“But predictability in policy and the speed of providing that predictability is what they are looking for, along with some form of ease of doing business…we discussed as to how to promote that idea,” Banga added.

When asked if there were any apprehensions in the United States regarding the reform process in India, he said that failure of the Land Bill in coming through had raised some questions but the Americans also saw the positive which is change, growth and opportunity along with a government that is engaging in ‘constructive dialogue’.

“All of us in business see plus and minuses. At the end of the day, no country is perfect, neither America nor India, yet we chose where to put our investment. What India has to do is have more pluses less minuses and one way of doing that is the ease of doing business and predictability. A lot can be achieved by focusing on these two things,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s evening today will conclude with a dinner with some of the top Fortune 500 CEOs, which will be a major push for his ‘Make In India’ programme. (ANI)

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