Senator Lieberman Supports India US Bilateral Investment Treaty!

In previous post, I mentioned that there is large number of people who believe that it will be tough to get senate ratify BIT with visa provisions.  In other words, visa provisions (in their view) can be a poison pill.  In fact some think that any BIT with India can not be ratified by Senate in current political climate.  Two developments contradict these assumptions.

First, I am glad to report that at least one senator (who is very influential-due to his seniority and the balance of power in senate and who is Independent) Senator Lieberman of Connecticut has come out in support of the India US BIT.  In his speech at Heritage Foundation on Asia-Pacific on November 2, 2011, he said:

“..we must redouble our efforts to conclude a Bilateral Investment Treaty with India, with the clearly stated goal of concluding a full FTA with New Delhi before the decade is out.”

Not only he is advocating BIT, he wants to do full FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with India!!

Another opening in Congress’ view of visas favorably to Indians came from US Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and  the committee chair, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) in form of their introduction and support of H. R. 3012 which removes per country limit in Employment based visas.

With these two developments, we are hopeful that India US BIT will achieve momentum it deserves.


India US BIT-Why Visa Provisions Were Dropped From Model BIT?

One wonders why the Model BIT has no visa provisions?  In other words why there is no language which will authorize treaty visas in Model BIT?  We knew the answer but recent correspondence with one of the leading expert attorney brought back possible reason to our notice once again.

The reason (in their language) is that Senate will not consider any trade agreements with visa provisions.

This is really unfortunate.  For two reasons:

1. This interpretation of BIT is incorrect as it is NOT a trade agreement.

2. Even if it is correct, people have given up (due to political climate?) pursuing Senate for worthy cause-which is even more disturbing.

The bureaucrat who dropped the language from Model BIT addressing visas is not the only one with misunderstanding!!!

It is our duty to dispel this misunderstanding.

First BIT is clearly NOT a trade agreement.  Trade agreements are known as FTA (Free Trade Agreements).

As respected attorney Gary Chodorow points out:

“Regardless of the merits of that argument as it applies to FTAs, it doesn’t apply to investor visa provisions in BITs. First, Congress has already spoken on the issue of treaty-investor visas by enacting section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Act, which provides that DOS can issue E-2 treaty trader visas to persons entering the U.S. “under and in pursuance of the provisions of” a qualifying treaty. This provision implicitly authorizes the executive to negotiate such treaties. The statute would be meaningless if the executive couldn’t negotiate such treaties. Second, as explained above, BITs don’t require implementing legislation, so the specific criticisms about the administration negotiating FTAs that require “substantive changes to U.S. law” simply don’t apply. Third, fast-track authority only applies to trade agreements, not BITs, so concerns about fast-track limits on debate and amendments don’t apply.

Attorney Chodorow also points out that: ” Treaty-Investor Visas Are Not Politically Controversial”. This is due to the fact that these visas have very strict requirements.

It is our wish that US Chamber of Commerce, AILA, Immigration Attorneys, US IBC are not misunderstanding the facts about BIT.  Because if they misunderstand, they will be reluctant to support visa provisions in Model BIT or India US BIT.  And that will be really unfortunate for USA and India and the whole world and free market economy!


India US BIT-Not Going Anywhere Soon/Dead For Now!!!!!!

As we said in our first blog.  This treaty could take long……time.  In fact statements by Hon. Anand Sharma about treaty negotiations finishing soon are just statements without any concrete basis.  It is not even clear whether BIT can be signed without Model BIT is finalized and approved.  With elections on horizon, India US BIT will be pushed aside-in other words it is dead for now?

In article here the details are revealing:

“No indication was given during Thursday’s briefing by US officials about the timeframe for completion of the review.

The officials also did not discuss a possible timetable for the BIT talks at Thursday’s briefing.

This head line declares that “Investment treaty pact “soon”: Hillary”.  However when you read article it talks about putting fast track negotiations on hold!!

The confusion is among President Obama’s Cabinet members too.  Contrast this statement from US Trade Representative Ron Kirk with US Secretary of State’s Hillary Clinton’s statements above.  In this article Ron Kirk says “Long way to go for India-US investment treaty”!!

What a mess, when not only countries involved issue statements which are contradictory but one country’s own officials issue contradictory statements.  Is this a rivalry between State Department and Commerce Department?

What signal it gives to stake holders?

When we started this blog we warned about such statements-which are sometimes issued for consumption of ‘core’ constituency. We wonder if person does not have core values-how one can satisfy ‘core’ constituency???

Still let us keep hope alive for India US BIT-with visa provisions.

Fight Corruption Through India-US BIT!!!(Free Market Version of Anna Hazare?)

Fighting corruption through BIT!!!!-Yes and I am not kidding.  Two experts of economic policy are saying this.  Read the story here.  James M. Roberts and Derek Scissors are research fellows in very respectable organizations.

In their report they say that:

India is wrestling with how to deal a decisive blow against corruption. The answer is plain: Deal a decisive blow against state interference in the economy. To help, the U.S. should offer a proposal for a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) that liberalizes Indian investment. This would sharply reduce the incentives for corruption. It also might serve as political cover for future Indian governments that want to make the difficult choices needed to defeat corruption in its many forms.
Besides creating millions of jobs in US and India, India US BIT will reduce corruption in India!!

Wall Street Journal Article-Supporting India US BIT???

In an article today Wall Street Journal talks about the President Obama is trying to lure foreign investment.  What is better way to bring in millions of dollars of foreign investment to US other than the India US BIT with visa provisions?

As we said earlier, US by not having BIT with India has already missed trillions of dollars of investment and millions of jobs.  If White House is really sincere, they should put all efforts behind such treaty and get it ratified by Senate.

I will be posting my comments on this article and try to highlight India-US BIT’s importance.  I urge you to do the same.


India-US BIT-How Many Countries India Has BIT With?

As per Indian Government’s web site India has such BITs with 53 countries.   Even though list mentions USA-the footnote clarifies that India does not have full fledged BIT with USA but just an “Investment Incentive Agreement”.  India is also undergoing talks with 32 other countries for BIT (US is not listed as one of them!!).  India has signed but treaty is not effective for 15 countries.  The current BIT includes countries like UK(1995), France(2000) and Sri Lanka(1998).

All this show that US is 16 years and 53 countries behind  when you compare it with UK and others!!!

When you put this in perspective, even if 1% of Indians invest in USA, say $300, 000-that is $48 Trillion investment US lost-and Millions of jobs!

Any way let me go back to yesterday’s blog on how to get one’s blog noticed and I mentioned that one of the ways is by commenting on eminent bloggers’ blogs on same subject.  In that vein, I commented on Ron Somers’ blog on the Hill, which is a known online newspaper covering capital hill.  They approved my comments which are at bottom of the blog.  Ron Somers is president of USIBC whose members include GE’s CEO and others.

Hopefully my comment will get noticed and USIBC also will pay attention to Indian investors who wants to invest in USA!



How To Get Your Blog Noticed-Including This Blog!!

With thousands of Blogs each day, how one can make their blog noticed by people who matter.

As I found out, one of the best way is to post comments/respond on subjects which are also central to your blog.  How to find such posts/blogs/web pages?  Of course the best way is to search using Google with your blog’s subject as search term.  Once search result come, locate the most appropriate blog and post comments-usually at bottom of post.  For example, I posted comments on Evan A. Feigenbaum’s Blog and he immediately responded with comments.  Now my comment has link to this blog!  Evan is not only scholar-he is equally influential.  See his biography below.

Evan A. Feigenbaum is Adjunct Senior Fellow for East, Central, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also the first Executive Director of the Paulson Institute, an independent center, located at the University of Chicago, established by former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson. Initially an academic with a PhD in Chinese politics, his work has since spanned government service, business, and think tanks, and all three major regions of Asia. From 2001 to 2009, he served at the State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia (2007-09), where he was intimately involved in the final phase of the U.S.-India civil nuclear initiative; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia (2006-07); Member of the Policy Planning Staff with principal responsibility for East Asia and the Pacific (2001-06), working on a range of issues related to U.S. relations with China, Korea, Japan, and ASEAN; and as an advisor on China to Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, with whom he worked closely in the development of the U.S.-China Senior Dialogue. Following government service, he was Head of the Asia practice group and a director at Eurasia Group, a global political risk consulting firm working principally for financial institutions and corporate clients. Before government service, he worked at Harvard University.

Our effort should be to post comments on all web pages/blogs which discuss India US trade and/or relations.  You can do same for your blog.  Tomorrow I will talk about another influential person on whose blog I will be posting my comments soon!