IndiaTimes: Tariffs to be reduced to Asean levels in Budget: “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured multinational corporations that an independent Petroleum Regulatory Authority would be set up to provide a level playing field to them in the oil sector”: “…van der Veer had specifically suggested creation of a level playing field for multinational corporations in the oil sector.” (ShellNews.net) 10 Nov 04
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2004
THE HAGUE: Promising to usher in further tax reforms in the next Budget and to bring down tariffs in India to ASEAN levels, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured multinational corporations that an independent Petroleum Regulatory Authority would be set up to provide a level playing field to them in the oil sector.
At an interaction with Chief Executive Officers of European and Indian corporates last night, Singh also made it clear that India will adhere to all the commitments already at the World Trade Organisation including on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) on which a legislation will be brought before Parliament soon.
“I recognise that whoever comes to invest in India is entiled to expect a level-playing field. The government is in fact in the process of doing that. “An independent and credible Petroleum Regulatory Authority will be set up,” he told Jeroen van der Veer, chairman, Board of Management, Royal Dutch Shell, who is slated to take over as chairman of the whole Anglo-Dutch Shell Group after the forthcoming merger of the UK and Dutch branches, the first non-British chairman of the combined firm.
Shell has extensive investments in India and is putting another $1.3 billion in port development and gas-based industries in Gujarat, plus an entry into the petroleum retail business.
At the interaction, van der Veer had specifically suggested creation of a level playing field for multinational corporations in the oil sector. Declaring that the economic reforms process initiated in India in 1991 was not reversible, Singh said the next Budget would focus on tax reforms. However, he did not not elaborate.Recalling that all the finance ministers in the last ten years have repeated the promise of India’s commitment to reducing the tariffs to ASEAN levels, he said the government would adhere to this commitment.
The economist-Prime Minister also utilised the opportunity to raise concerns in India on the non-tariff barriers imposed by European countries and excessive use of anti-dumping measures on Indian exports and the continued restrictions of movement of professionals from India.