Expecting quick reforms in India unrealistic: US official

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New York | Updated: September 15, 2015 10:47 PM

India has made steady progress on several areas of critical reforms but the notion that all problems will be addressed quickly would be "naive" and "unrealistic"...

india US tax pactThe US is trying to help the Indian government to achieve its targets. (Reuters)

India has made steady progress on several areas of critical reforms but the notion that all problems will be addressed quickly would be “naive” and “unrealistic” as it could have a political component, a top US trade official said today.

“There has been in fact steady progress but there is also room for growth and room for continued improvement and lots of work to be done,” Stefan Selig, the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade at the US Department of Commerce said.

He was responding to a question on concerns on the need to speed up critical reforms like the Goods and Services Tax and land laws to boost manufacturing and economic growth in the country.

“When I was in India I heard from both Indian and US companies about the challenges of doing business in India and these include a whole bunch of different things from tax policy, infrastructure bottlenecks, burdens and regulations, localisation requirements, IPR protection and enforcement among other things,” he said addressing foreign media at a talk at the New York Foreign Press Centre on ‘Preview of the 2015 US-India Commercial Dialogue’.

“But let’s not forget. The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has been in office since just May of last year and these are difficult and complicated issues and are going to take time.

“The notion that all of these things will be addressed or fixed in that short period of time I think is somewhat naive and unrealistic,” he said.

“We saw some of the debate around our trade promotion policy that we have in this country earlier this summer. These things are complicated and can have a political component so they are going to take time,” he said.

The US is trying to help the Indian government to achieve its targets.

“We at the commerce department are eager and active in trying to be as helpful as we can to help the Modi government achieve its goals,” Selig said.

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