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India-U.S. Cooperation in Energy and Investment

Daniel S. Sullivan, Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs
Remarks to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
New Delhi, India
May 21, 2008

Great, good afternoon everybody, sorry we’re late. We have a very packed schedule and we’re running a little bit behind so I appreciate the patience. I’m just going to open with a rather brief statement to give you a sense of some of the issues that we’re working on. I am in town with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Evan Feigenbaum, and also who’s not here with us but our senior USTR official Claudio Lillenfeld, who is from our U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

What we’ve been doing, let me back up a little bit, we see the relationship between U.S. and India as a obviously a growing one, broad one and what from our perspective clearly is on a positive trajectory, a trajectory going up and in the right direction.

You’re all familiar with the different aspects of the relationship. One of the things that’s most impressive to me as the official in the U.S. State Department focused on economic issues is the strength and the growing opportunities that exist in the private sector.

So you saw, for example, last year our two-way trade was up 30% from 2006 to 2007, $32 billion to $42 billion. Our foreign direct investment both ways which is actually quite a significant issue, both ways meaning there’s been significant foreign direct investment in the U.S. but also increasing foreign direct investment of Indian companies in the United States. That’s kind of positive trajectory.

There’s a strong private sector engagement, we have our CEO forum. We have our private sector advisory forum. And then the other statistic that I think is particularly impressive even though it’s not in an area that I necessarily deal with is the number of students, student visas, Indian students studying in the U.S. I think this year is 84 thousand, more than any other country and the rest of the world. So, one purpose of the visit, what we’re trying to do is really looking at those opportunities is to try and create the space, create the policy initiatives between the governments to provide more of that kind of opportunity, to keep that trajectory going in the right direction.

So, as you can imagine related to that our discussions have been focusing on trade relationship the trade and investment relationship, both bilateral and multilateral and again as you can imagine that focus has been on the bilateral investment treaty between the U.S. and India that we’re looking at. We had good meetings in February, very good meetings, our first informal meetings on this, and what we were trying to do in our meetings so far is to keep that momentum going. And I think that I’m only halfway through my meetings here but I think it’s safe to say we’re making some progress on that. Looks as if we will hopefully, soon set up another meeting in another session. My bureau co-leads these negotiations with our colleagues at USTR and I know there’s an interagency bureau in the Indian government of finance ministry, commerce ministry that focuses on this. So, good progress there. We can get into a little bit of that if you like.

We’ve had some discussions on Doha. As you know there was a new text that came out on the NAMA. Text and on the add text. Our government is still studying that. So we’ve had some general discussions on that and then we’ve also had very good discussions in an area that we think has significant potential for deeper cooperation and that’s in the energy cooperation area.

One of the areas of discussion is we have been talking about deepening cooperation at the multilateral level between the U.S. and India through the International Energy Agency. As you know the International Energy Agency was set up in the early 1970s during a time of oil crisis, during a time of, well during the first oil embargo 1973-74. A lot has changed since then and we think that its increasingly important to have some of the most important economies and energy consumers such as India more deeply involved with the IEA and so we have had some discussions on that and looking at ways of how to do that.

We also had a recent, my colleagues from the dept of Energy had a recent, very good meetings with regards to our bilateral U.S.- India energy dialog. So, we’ve reviewed some of the results that came from that. But what’s most interesting from our perspective and one of the points I’ve been trying to make is these issues I’ve just talked about, whether it’s the BIT, or Doha or energy, they are actually very much interrelated.

So, you have the opportunities for bilateral investment treaty here, we think that can encourage deeper cooperation in the energy sector and the power generation sector, so that’s why our discussion even though I’ve been meeting with a number of different ministries. We’ve been raising these issues because we think they are really important from a bilateral perspective, multilateral perspective and these issues in a lot of ways, investment issues, trade issues, energy issues they’re integrated and so we wanted to make that point. So far it’s been very good meetings.

I wanted to make a final point. This is something that I think is growing more and more. My colleague, and I’ll let Evan just say a few words, but he’s talked about and I know the Ambassador’s talked about before this notion of a living bridge linking the U.S. and India in terms of our private sector, in terms of our people to people contacts, in term of our students, in terms of the growing influence and prestige in achievement of the Indian-American community in the United States. And it’s something that’s very powerful, very positive and in again what we’re trying to do in terms of government policies is to enable that bridge to increase the opportunities for that to increase and so that’s primarily the goal of the trip and thus far I think we’re making some good progress. So do you want to? OK. So that’s it. Thanks for coming.

Released on August 1, 2008

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