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India, US to fast track bilateral investment treaty dialogue

Washington: India and the United States on Wednesday agreed to fast-track technical negotiations for early conclusion of a Bilateral Investment Agreement during a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

"We agreed to re-invigorate the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and make it more robust and effective in resolving bilateral commercial issues, while maintaining the political leadership of the process," Sharma told Indian reporters after the meeting.

"The two sides also agreed to fast-track the technical negotiations for an early conclusion of the India-US Bilateral Investment Agreement," Sharma said, adding there would be two rounds of negotiations before the next meeting of the ministerial level TPF, expected to be held in October, 2011, in India.

Reaffirming that the TPF is the premier dialogue for addressing trade and investment issues between the two countries, a separate USTR statement said the two agreed that the TPF should be strengthened to better facilitate resolution of outstanding issues of concern and looked forward to a constructive meeting of the TPF later this year.

"The booming bilateral trade and investment flows between the United States and India support tens of thousands of critical jobs in both countries and we know that will only grow significantly in the coming years," Kirk said.

"However, to continue and grow our successes, both India and the United States must take concrete steps to resolve long-standing market access and investment concerns," he said.

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