World Economy

India to Fast-Track US Investments

India to Fast-Track US InvestmentsIndia to Fast-Track US Investments

India on Wednesday announced a move to speed up approval for US investments, just weeks after the two countries settled a global trade dispute and President Barack Obama agreed to visit.

A new Indian government committee will “identify bottlenecks” faced by US firms wanting to invest in the country, where foreign companies must contend with byzantine regulations and large amounts of red tape, AFP reported. “The committee will facilitate and fast-track investment from US companies in India,” said a commerce ministry statement.

The right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already relaxed some rules for foreign investors since storming to power in May.

The latest move comes after New Delhi and Washington settled a bitter row over food subsidies last month.

Obama subsequently accepted an invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January.

The United States invested $806 million in India in the 2013-14 financial year, six percent of total foreign investment in the country, according to government figures.

Two-way trade between the US and India currently stands at some $100 billion. The countries aim to boost the figure to $500 billion but have set no deadline.

Relations suffered last year when an Indian diplomat was arrested in the United States, but have recovered under Modi.

US Trade Representative Michael Froman met Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitaraman last month for the first session of the US-India Trade Policy Forum since 2010.

However, differences persist over issues including Indian intellectual property rights involving drug patents and entertainment copyright laws.