India-US BIT-What We Have Done So Far

This group of like minded who initiated this Blog collectively:

-Had meeting with staff of Senator John Cornyn

-Wrote over 300 emails to individuals and government

-Presented ideas to Economic Development staff at city and county levels

-Called office of Chief of Staff, AFL-CIO who is on AICEP Committee responsible for Model BIT.

-Called Director for investment affairs for the US Trade Representative (USTR) Office
This is just beginning, apparently it will take much more effort to get India -US BIT accomplished.

Thanks.

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India-US BIT-Supporting Documents

It is obvious that India-US BIT is a win-win as it creates mechanism for citizens to invest in each others country and create jobs.  Still to support our mission we have some fantastic materials for your perusal.

This includes PowerPoint  and sample letter to Senators.   We also give link to an attorney’s perspective/request on BIT .  Please use them to propagate our cause.

PowerPoint

Letter to Senator

Attorney’s Perspective

Furthermore, if you need more information on BIT, you might want to search under TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) along with Investment Protection.  Investment protection is one of reasons why Model BIT may not be finalized soon. See this wonderful link giving more details.

This is a issue where different agencies of US government can not agree!  This is totally wrong-specially in this economic climate where we need overseas investment badly.

India-US BIT-Any Progress?

The news reports may give picture of substantial progress on India US BIT, e.g. the news reports mention “India-US Bilateral Investment Treaty Discussions Nearly Complete” on September 22, 2011.

Reality is quite different.  As mentioned earlier,

1. There not a finalized version of Model BIT.

2. There is not a date set for finalizing/signing India US BIT.

3. There is no awareness in Congress (specially in Senate) about importance of India US BIT!

Media, US Business Leaders may be pushing for the BIT but no one talks about the underlying mechanism and how to accomplish that process.  US India Business Council (USIBC)’s President Ron Somers recently issued press release urging both governments to prioritize “delivery” of BIT.  Does he know that Model BIT is years (if not decades) away from finalization???!!!!

(BTW Google search also displays the news that US Senate approved BIT with Rawanda!!  This BIT was signed when George W. Bush was president!)

Furthremore, USIBC’s focus is on big players: e.g. Boeing establishing factory in India, technology protections etc.  This Blog’s focus is on investors from India-who wants to invest say $200, 000-$300, 000 and create jobs in USA!  USIBC does not even mention visa provisions necessary for such investors.  As studies have shown small businesses and entrepreneurs generate jobs in USA far more than multinationals.

Should we write to Ms. Anku Nath, Director for Trade Policy Advocacy  or Katie Sparrow, Senior Manager for Policy Advocacy-see their contacts on USIBC web site to bring awareness to USIBC?

(BTW Let us not confuse visa provisions in BIT with visa issues related to H1B or L1 etc.  Even when Anand Sharma says that he will take up visa problems/fees matter with US government-he is concentrating on H1B/L1 etc.-same for USIBC!!)

It is a tragedy that no US politician or government has given any thoughts and/or priority to BIT and its visa aspect and pushed the BIT . Not even India Caucus of US Congress has accorded any priority to BIT.  If we can have BIT with Rwanda-we can definitely have BIT with India.

We can change that with this Blog and other social media.  We need your help in making this a priority.

India US BIT-Who Is In-charge?

Earlier, I talked about who is in-charge of Model BIT.  In order for India US BIT to become reality three  things must happen:

1. Model BIT is finalized and approved.

2. India and US governments signs BIT based on Model BIT.

3. US Senate passes India US BIT with 2/3 majority.  India’s parliament passes India US BIT-I am not clear on this part.

In last post I talked about Model BIT and who is incharge.  Let us talk today about who are the goverment officials on both sides for India US BIT.

From Indian side it is Anand Sharma, India’s Union Cabinet Minister for Commerce and Industry

From US side it is Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative.

Both of them had numerous talks on BIT -along with other talks.  In fact Anand Sharma has been visiting US number of times recently.

I will talk about what are latest developments on India-US BIT.  Is there any substantive progress or just show biz?

Thanks.

Model BIT-Who is In-charge??

As mentioned earlier, India US BIT will most likely based on Model BIT.  Who is in-charge of finalizing Model BIT?

There is committee who reviews the Model BIT.  This committee is ACIEP (Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy).  State Department maintains web page on this committee’s activity at http://www.state.gov/e/eeb/adcom/aciep/index.htm

ACIEP sent its reommendations on Model BIT to Secretary of State in 2009.  BTW none of the comments addressed lack of visa provisions.  As of today we have not heard back from Secretary of State on what are her views on the recommendationas and when Model BIT will be ready!

So whom we should contact to request that visa provisions are important and they should be made part of the Model BIT?

The letter and report has following names.

Theodore W. Kassinger Alan Larson Thea Lee
Chairman Co-Chair Co-Chair
Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy Subcommittee on Investment Subcommittee on Investment

The investment subcommittee has members listed here.

So may be these are people we should contact?  Readers-any suggestions?

India US BIT-Visa Provisions

I talked about problem with Model Treaty on which India US BIT depends on.

Model BIT (besides being time consuming) has another HUGE problem.  It does not have visa provisions!!!  Who in right mind would be ready to invest and not be able to manage and administer investment?

Nobody is focusing on this aspect.  All the big talks focus on getting BIT signed.  But signing a flawed BIT (without visa provisions) does not make sense from practical perspective.

Ironically, the language for such provision does not even mention word visa!  All it talks about is “to allow to enter and to remain” !  Last BIT was with Mozambique which had visa provisions.  See the language taken from this earlier BIT.

—————————————————————-

Article ____

1. (a) Subject to its laws relating to the entry and sojourn of aliens, each Party shall permit to enter and to remain in its territory nationals of the other Party for the purpose of establishing, developing, administering or advising on the operation of an investment to which they, or a company of the other Party that employs them, have committed or are in the process of committing a substantial amount of capital or other resources.

(b) Neither Party shall, in granting entry under paragraph I (a), require a labor certification test or other procedures of similar effect, or apply any numerical restriction.

2. Each Party shall permit covered investment under this treaty to engage top managerial personnel of their choice, regardless of nationality.

———————————————————-

Here is request: if any of reader can suggest word in lieu of visa I should use that word from now on.  As ‘visa’ is connected with negative connotation in present circumstances!

Now the question arises on how to make sure that Model BIT is changed to include above language???  I will write about it soon.

Thanks.

This post was published to indiausbit at 3:28:47 PM 9/22/2011

India – USA BIT (Bilateral Investment Treaty)

This blog is to provide information about BIT between India and USA. The goal is to get the BIT (with visa provisions) signed and make it effective ASAP.

Why our goal is to get this treaty become effective ASAP? Number of reasons.

  1. BIT can bring billions of dollars of investment to USA and India and create millions of jobs in both countries. Currently there is no quick mechanism for an Indian investor to invest in USA. As one of our friend pointed out there are thousands of visitors/temporary workers who want to invest in US. This includes persons on H1B and other visas. These are truly entrepreneurs. Imagine just 60, 000 Indians invest $200, 000, that’s $1.2 Billion! In Silicon Valley (without BIT) immigrants have been shown to establish 40% of new ventures.
  2. It will also allow American entrepreneurs to invest in India and generate jobs in India.
  3. India is generating millionaire every day due to economy and liberalization-US is missing out on them.
  4. BIT does exist between Pakistan and Bangladesh-and not India. These two countries (and numerous others) do not come anywhere close to India’s investment capacity.

Unfortunately there are talks and announcements on fast tracking BIT-they are not going anywhere for at least 5-10 years! In other words you have to bear this blog for that long at least!

Why:

  1. For any BIT to be signed, it has be based on finalized Model BIT. Model BIT has never been finalized despite the fact that it is in ‘development’ stage —since………….2004! Last recommendation by ACIEP was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009. As of today no movement is expected toward finalization of Model BIT.
  2. Once BIT is signed it has to be ratified by 2/3 of senate. Considering how partisan Senate is this might take ————forever. Other FTAs-even finalized and signed are NOT getting through congress.

So the talks and announcements are to calm down chambers of commerce and industry leaders-they are just talks and nothing else. No statements have been made by US officials on when final Model BIT will be ready.

I will talk about another problem with Model BIT tomorrow-besides time it is taking.

Thanks.