Mukherjee, Geithner discuss G20 agenda, meet CEOs

Monday, November 8, 2010

NEW DELHI - Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday held talks here with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on a wide range of issues, including the agenda for the G20 Summit in Seoul later this week, to be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama.

The next steps forward to stabilise the global financial markets, technical cooperation on capital flows and infrastructure financing also figured in the talks, held as part of the US-India Economic and Financial Partnership launched here April 6, officials said.

Mukherjee was invited to Washington next year by Geithner - a key member of the high-power delegation accompanying President Obama - for the next round of talks as part of the the partnership pact, the officials added.

Both the Indian finance minister and the US treasury secretary later joined the delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House here that were chaired by Manmohan Singh and Obama.

Earlier, addressing the Indo-US CEOs Forum, Mukherjee said the financial crisis since 2008 had compelled policy-makers the world over to rethink some of the basic principles of economics and finance, the functioning of financial markets and the global economy.

“One lesson we are to learn from this global crisis is that remedy lies in collective and collaborative approach - not in unilateralism. In our anxiety to solve problem in one part of the world, we should not create greater problems in other parts.”

The finance minister also invited US entrepreneurs to invest in India, especially in the infrastructure sectors, which he said needed $514 billion between 2007 and 2012, with close to 30 percent from private sources.

“For the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-13 to 2016-17), the investment in infrastructure is envisaged at $1 trillion. This magnitude of investment would require innovative modes of financing.”

The US-India CEO Forum is co-chaired by David M. Cote of Honeywell and Ratan Tata of Tata Sons. It includes Pepsi chief Indra Nooyi, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Dow chief executive Andrew N. Liveris, CitiGroup’s Vikram S. Pandit, Bharti Group’s Sunil Mittal, ICICI Banks Chanda Kochchar and HDFCs Deepak Parekh.

Ahead of the meeting, Geithner, in a signed article for a leading Indian daily, said India was doing its bit to rebalance global growth and prevent events such as the massive deficit financing and trade surpluses that had caused the recent global financial crises.

“India is meeting this challenge, helping to demonstrate the dynamism that can accompany domestic demand-led growth combined with significant exchange-rate flexibility,” he said in the article.

“India is succeeding in fostering greater domestic growth in part by directing economic policies and incentives toward the bottom of the income pyramid.”

Filed under: Economy

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