By Kavaljit Singh of Madhyam
It’s official: India and the US will resume negotiations on a high-standard bilateral investment treaty (BIT). In a joint statement on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama, the leaders affirmed their “shared commitment to facilitating increased bilateral investment flows and fostering an open and predictable climate for investment.”
Since 2008, the two countries have been engaged in sporadic discussions to arrive at such a treaty. In the coming days, negotiations will begin on its wording, based on each country’s revised model treaty texts. Read more
Last week was a bad week for us sceptics of global governance, or so it seemed. The US and China struck a deal on reducing carbon emissions that some fairly serious people found not to be meaningless. (Others demurred.) The same two countries also agreed to update the Information Technology Agreement, a plurilateral trade deal that has not been reformulated since a decade before the release of the iPhone. Finally, the US and India made an apparent breakthrough in resolving a spat over food subsidies that had brought already desultory progress in the World Trade Organization to a halt.
But before the multilateral bunting is strung across the streets of Geneva in recognition of the US-India achievement, some caution is in order. For one, the “breakthrough” is a minor clarification over what a particular paragraph in an agreement means. Second, if the deal is used to lever open past WTO agreements on farm subsidies, it will turn out to be a very poor trade-off indeed. Read more
A bar, a cinema, a bowling alley: all the essentials for an embassy?
Maybe so, but the Indian government has asked the US embassy in New Delhi to close down its onsite entertainments on the grounds that, as elements in a “commercial facility”, they are deemed to be illegal. It’s the latest move in a catty to and fro that has followed last month’s arrest and strip search of Devyani Khobragade (pictured), an Indian consular official, in New York. Read more
It’s all looking up for the US this week. New figures show manufacturing activity is growing at its fastest pace since April 2011. Analysts have braced themselves for better than expected jobs data on Friday. Oh – and Indian IT outsourcing companies are funnelling money into the country. Read more
Concerns around proposed reforms to US immigration laws have rocked India’s IT companies, which send employees to work on site with American clients.
But the president of Nasscom, India’s IT trade body, has said there’s little to worry about – the final legislation could actually benefit the Indian companies. Read more
On Wednesday Indians will wake up to see the results of the US presidential election rolling in – polls close in Ohio at 6am in India, so breakfast here may well see the anointing of the next president. But most Indians won’t even notice – and even for those who do, few believe who wins will have any effect on their lives. Read more