BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 22 November, 2002, 16:35 GMT
US calls for reform in India
US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
O'Neill says India has advantages over other Asian nations
India must remove barriers to trade and make sure property rights are protected in order to attract more investment from abroad, according to a senior US official visiting the country.

US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill insisted India's economy would grow faster if the country would cut tariffs to encourage trade.

Mr O'Neill's comments came ahead of Saturday's Group of 20 summit in Delhi - a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries, along with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The G-20 meets annually to discuss ways of increasing international financial stability.

High on the agenda this year will be ways to stifle terrorist funding, to prevent economic crisis and to expand trade.

Indian boost

This is the first year that the G-20 summit has been held in a developing country.

But Mr O'Neill said India is rated among the most restrictive countries in the world in terms of its trade and investment rules.

"In India, average import tariffs are over 32 %, more than three times higher than many other Asian economies - Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Sri Lanka to name just a few," he said.

Mr O'Neill also said that many foreign firms stay away from India because they distrust the country's governance system.

" Respect for property rights and protection against public or private thievery is an essential requirement for economic success," he told members of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

However, he praised the country's booming high technology sector and insisted that fast economic growth was possible because the populations speaks good English.

Economic uncertainty

The G-20 is made up of countries with varying economic situations, from crisis-hit Argentina to the optimistic US. They represent more than 85% global output and 60% of the populatoin.

The talks this year are being held against a backdrop of a slowing world economy and ministers have already indicated contrasting views on the situation for the coming 12 months.

Mr O'Neill reportedly suggested that economists are "looking forward to next year with a lot of confidence", while Canada's central bank chief David Dodge warned of a "tricky" year ahead.

Tackling terrorist funding was a hot topic last year, following the September 11 attacks, and is likely to be a key discussion issue this year.

Paul Boateng, the British chief secretary to the Treasury, reportedly said ahead of the meeting that G-20 members were co-operating closely on the issue.

"Terrorist groups need funds like fish need water. What we need to do is to drain the pool," said Mr Boateng.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Dr B.B. Bhattacharya, Institute of Economic Growth
"India's tariff rate is one of the highest in the world."
See also:

21 Nov 02 | Business
12 Nov 02 | Business
12 Nov 02 | Business
05 Nov 02 | Business
04 Nov 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes