During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit this month end, New Delhi will take up the issues of American visa regulations impacting the Indian IT industry, difficulties in temporary movement of skilled labour from India to the US, problems faced by the Indian pharma industry in getting greater market access in that country and the totalisation agreement.
This was disclosed by commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a press conference marking 100 days of Modi government.
At first, these issues will figure in the discussions between commerce secretary Rajeev Kher and deputy US trade representative Wendy Cutler on September 17. The issues will further be raised at a ministerial level meeting after Modi’s visit to the US.
The meeting between Modi and US President Barack Obama at the White House is likely on September 29-30.
India wants an early conclusion of the Totalisation Agreement with the US, under which an expatriate in either country will not contribute to social security schemes of the host country.
The other issue concerning India is the United States Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernisation Bill, 2013 proposing more visa related restrictions including increased fees. New Delhi has informed Washington that such measures are discriminatory, restrictive and leads to an unequal playing field for the IT sector.
On World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks, the minister echoed Modi saying India cannot sacrifice the interests and food security of the poor and the farmers.
“We hope that the WTO member countries understand the position India has taken. It is not just for India, but in the interest of many countries which have public stock of food grain. These are issues of sovereign right of a country,” she said.
It comes in the backdrop of India’s near isolation at WTO when its stance on linking the issue finding a permanent solution to the food security issue with the trade facilitation agreement (TFA) led to the breakdown on talks for signing of a TFA protocol by the July 31 deadline.
TFA was meant to ease global customs rules and add $1 trillion to the global economy in addition to creating 21 million jobs. India had then said that the developed nations are not serious about finding a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security of hundreds of millions of poor. India is attempting greater liberalisation of services at the WTO.
fe Bureau | The Financial Express