U.S. Ambassador Sees Insurer Investment in India

June 26, 2000

U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Celeste, predicted that India’s opening of its market to foreign insurers would bring a s much as $1 billion in investments over the next few years from U.S. Companies.

India’s ongoing struggle between the government and the trade Unions over the sale of public companies to the private sector, and the admission of significant amounts of foreign capital into the Indian economy, continues slowly, but it’s making progress. Additional approvals for “disinvestment” plans are expected by the end of July.

Celeste told the Associated Press that India is still 13 years behind China in opening its markets, but predicted that “once the Indian insurance sector opens up, U.S. investment in that business will soon be well in excess of $1 billion.”

He also foresaw future competition with U.S. companies, especially in telecommunications and Internet technology, where Indian programmers are among the world’s best.

Indian business, while still harder to enter than China’s, was more dynamic, Celeste told the AP. “Ultimately it is easier to run a profitable business in India,” he said.

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