Thu, 02 Dec 2021

By Reena BhardwajWashington [US], October 16 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said India's strategic economic reforms have been welcomed by the Biden administration and leaders from the corporate sector in the US.

"The reforms that we have undertaken, particularly the steps taken for the withdrawal of the retrospective tax has been mentioned by the United States administration as a very positive step," the minister said.

Sitharaman is currently in the US. She attended the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

On the sidelines of the meetings, Sitharaman also engaged with more than 25 bilateral meetings including top officials of the Biden administration and a host of top American CEOs.

"The businesses with whom we have been interacting have also welcomed that decision," Sitharaman responded to ANI's question on economic reforms taken by India and its impact seen in the US.

"Many of them thought it was bold and even though it took some time to come. We have also explained that they were legal. You know compulsions before which we had to wait because that was some of the litigations, which were going on and had to come to a logical conclusion. So we waited and the moment the logical conclusions were reached we went to the parliament with withdrawing that. So that's been overall very positively welcomed," the Union Minister told ANI at the conclusion of her Washington visit.

Further, when asked by ANI at a media briefing, whether India's comprehensive trade agreement with the US could be a reality anytime soon, Sitharaman asserted that India and the US have spoken about it and the two countries would like to carry on negotiation and conclude at the earliest.

"My particular focus was on investment incentivising agreement for which there is still time till December. So we have spoken about it, the two countries would like to carry on the negotiation and conclude it at the earliest. But, the larger issue of the trade itself is something in which Commerce (Ministry) is working together with the counterpart. So, I have not engaged in-depth into that," she responded.

During her week-long US visit, Sitharaman had a series of wide-ranging interactions with US administration, policymakers, Business Community Academy and think tanks.

This visit is also the first visit of Sitharaman to the US after the pandemic. New Delhi sees the visit as crucial to advance India-US economic partnership.

From meeting the top leadership at the World Bank and IMF to meeting her US counterpart, Sitharaman highlighted India's economic recovery.

The most significant of those was the India-US economic and financial partnership. That meeting was co-chaired by Sitharaman and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India's Ambassador to the US, hosted a dinner in her honour at India House. The dinner was attended by the top US officials including Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry, World Bank President David Malpass, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power and Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy.

After concluding meetings in Boston and Washington, the Union Minister has now moved to New York, the final leg of her US visit. (ANI)

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