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India needs to open more, work on EODB: US CG

Trade is more about the influence that Indians have in US and Americans in India

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India needs to open more, work on EODB: US CG
Edgard D Kagan
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While describing India-US relationship at its strongest yet, and trade ties between the two countries as having tremendous potential, US consul general in Mumbai Edgard D Kagan has said that India needs to open up further and work on Ease of Doing Business (EODB) to attract more American companies to invest in India.

Kagan, on his first visit to Gujarat as consul general, made the comment while speaking with reporters.

“I don’t want to downplay the challenges. All of you know where India stands in Ease of Doing Business. That is something the government is committed to addressing, but that is also something that needs to be addressed in order to make it easier for small and medium sized businesses to come here,” Kagan, who took over as Consul General only in August, said.

“I would like to see continued focus by other American companies — more small and medium-sized American companies looking at Indian market. These companies haven’t looked as much to foreign markets. This clearly needs to change,” he said.

The India-US trade in 2016 was $116 bn, but Kagan said that the economic relation is less about trade per se.

He said that it is more about the broader influence that Indians have in US and Americans have in India.

Stressing on the close relationship between the two largest democracies in the world, the diplomat said, “I feel the India-US relationship at this moment is without any doubt the strongest its ever been. We have a very solid foundation and the potential is huge, and in every area ranging from people-to-people, education, security and defence, and also research.”

The CG, who is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, visited the Sabarmati Ashram this morning, an experience he described as “incredibly moving”. He also visited the American Corner and Sidi Saiyyad Mosque, while he is slated to meet representatives of American companies operating in Gujarat, and the state’s political leadership on Tuesday.

He described Gujaratis as the “glue” of the India-US relationship.

While stressing that economic ties between US and India are “incredibly strong and growing”, Kagan said that people-to-people ties have been the driving force of the relationship.

“The political relationship has ebbed and flowed. There have been times its been better, when its been less good. The driving force has been the people to people ties, and also the economic ties,” he said.

Kagan identified trade, investment, research collaboration, education and tourism as some of the areas which have immense potential for close cooperation between the two nations.

The CG further said that US Secretary of State James Mattis’s visit to India, starting September 25, is a sign and reflection of growing strategic and defence ties between the two countries, “but the relation goes beyond defence”.

He said that US sees India as an ally and a close partner the same way as it looks at Japan.

WHAT KAGAN SAID

  • India needs to open up further and work on Ease of Doing Business (EODB)
     
  • Trade is more about the influence that Indians have in US and Americans in India
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