US firms to invest $27 billion in India: USIBC chief

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Over 50 American firms are expected to invest $27 billion (Rs.1.85 trillion) in India by 2017 as against $15 billion invested since May 2014, US-India Business Council president Mukesh Aghi said on Wednesday.

“We expect 52 US companies to invest $27 billion in India this year and next year, in addition to $15 billion by 20 percent of our member firms since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office,” Aghi said, citing a council survey.

Noting that reforms under Modi’s leadership were resonating well with US firms, he commended the country’s rise in the ease of doing business index.

“Our members are buoyed by the direction of reforms, including fast-tracking approvals, transparent auction of natural resources and facilitating a level-playing field for investors,” he said.

Reorganising its policy groups to address Modi’s priorities, focusing on manufacturing ties, the council told the prime minister at a meeting with him that a robust IP (intellectual property) policy was essential to boost investor confidence.

“We also stressed on greater clarity on certain FDI regulations and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST),” Aghi added.

A delegation led by council chairman and global networking major Cisco head John Chambers met Modi and key ministers to explore new opportunities for the India-US relationship.

Council’s ex-chairman, MasterCard chief executive Ajay Banga, vice-chairman Ed Monser and Aghi were also present.

“Both countries have a huge opportunity to scale bilateral trade exponentially in the coming years. The council has built a strong foundation in engaging US business in India to take the relationship to the next level,” Chambers said later.

Asserting that Indo-US ties and India’s business climate were getting stronger, Banga said the opportunity for the council to act as a catalyst for greater investment in India was greater than ever before.

Formed in 1975 at the behest of both the governments, the council is the premier business advocacy organization, comprising 350 top-tier US and Indian firms advancing Indo-US commercial ties.

The council is also the largest bilateral trade association in the US, and has offices in New York, Silicon Valley and New Delhi.

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