New York: Describing India as an "Asian tiger", the Obama administration has said it will soon hold technical discussions with the country on a "next generation" bilateral investment treaty, through which the US aims to attract billions of dollars of investment and create jobs.

The State Department and US Trade Representatives Office will lead negotiations on next-generation of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) that protect and encourage investment.

"I am pleased to announce we will soon resume technical level discussions on a new BIT with India," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a large gathering at the Economic Club of New York here on Saturday.

The increased focus on bilateral treaties is part of America's priority to attract billions of dollars of new investment to create American jobs.

Clinton also touted the benefits that accrue to America when its companies make investments in "Asian tigers" like
India and China, countries which often draw flak from American citizens and politicians alike for "stealing" American jobs.

"It's not as though American companies go and invest in China or India or Brazil and there's no benefit back home.
There is. But the quality of the benefit, the amount of the benefit, and the durability of the benefit depend upon decisions we make here as to how we think about our competitive stance in this new challenging environment," she said.

Clinton cited the example of US-based fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut that made more money selling pizza and fried chicken in China than in the US.
   
"But this creates jobs at headquarters in Louisville and it creates jobs as well in China," she said.

"I know there are some who believe that America, after taking our lumps in recent years, should turn inward. But you can't call 'time out' in the global economy. Our competitors aren't taking a time out, and neither can we," Clinton said.

She said it is not enough for America's commercial diplomacy to promote only the flow of goods and services but it also has to promote free flow of capital as investment in both directions, backed by well-enforced rules, which is vital to creating growth and jobs in the US.

The US is "100 per cent" behind American businesses tapping into growth opportunities around the world, Clinton said, adding that Washington will do "everything" to facilitate US businesses prosper on foreign shores.

“We want to be out there helping to open doors and knock down those barriers... It is true that we expect fair treatment for our investors overseas. And if we do that, we have to welcome foreign investment in America."

In order to make the most of open markets, nations will have to ensure that all companies play by the same rules,
Clinton said.

She said the US is working to include a chapter on state-owned enterprises in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to finalise new OECD guidelines.

"Our premise is simple; the rules must apply equally to all companies. We call this commonsense principle competitive neutrality, and we promote it all over the world." Clinton said America needs to recognise that its dependence on imported oil and its national debt pose not just economic challenges but foreign policy ones too, creating volatility in the short term and giving other nations "leverage against us".

In the long term, they pose a generational challenge to America's global leadership, she said.

"We are working to respond with new thinking and a renewed sense of common purpose to get our economy growing, modernise our infrastructure, bring down our debt...Washington has to end the culture of political brinkmanship, which, I can tell you, raises questions around the world about our leadership," Clinton added.

(Agencies)