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H1B visa one of the issues on table ahead of PM Modi's US visit, says Commerce Secretary

Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the US has started a trade policy review of those countries with which it has adverse trade balance and India is ninth on that list.


By   |  Updated On : June 20, 2017 10:44 PM
H1B visa one of the issues on table ahead of PM Modi's US visit

H1B visa one of the issues on table ahead of PM Modi's US visit

New Delhi :  

Problems being faced by domestic IT industry on the H1B visa front are one of the issues “on the table” between India and America, a top government official on Tuesday asserted ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the US has started a trade policy review of those countries with which it has adverse trade balance and India is ninth on that list.

Asked whether India would raise the H1B issue during Modi’s visit to the US, she said: “I cannot say what would be the issues that would come up in the discussion. This is one of the issues on the table. (But) it is not the only issue.  But in the event the issue comes up, it would certainly be taken up.”

Modi is slated to visit the US on June 25 and 26.

India has time and again raised the issue of H1B with the US authorities and asked them to liberalise their visa regime as Indian companies contribute significantly to the American economy.

The H1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialised fields. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.

On the trade policy review being carried out by the US, she said India and the US have a robust mechanism under the trade policy forum (TPF) to discuss matters like stents and others.

Also Read | 7 Indian companies received fewer H1B visas in 2016 as compared to 2015: Report

She said other issues like market access for products and those relating to investments are all being dealt with regularly at the TPF meetings.

“The US has commenced a trade policy review of those countries with which it has adverse trade balance and India is ninth on the list of those countries. So certainly, we would figure, but we are confident that our exports to the US are a win-win for both countries in the sense that we are able to provide cheaper products,” Teaotia added.

The secretary further said a cross-section of Indian companies supports American industry in becoming much more competitive.

“Therefore, this is a partnership that has many benefits across sectors and I think this would be the trend of our communication with the US,” she added.

Also Read | H1B visa woes: Cognizant to significantly ramp up headcount in the US to woo Trump administration 

The bilateral trade between the two increased to USD 64.67 billion in 2016-17, from USD 62.11 billion in the previous fiscal. The trade balance is in favour of India.

First Published: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 10:18 PM
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