The US is keen on striking deals with India that are in the interest of both the nations as it reassesses Indo-US policies to create jobs for Americans, according an American Congressional delegation. “United States has brand new President who is a different kind of President in our country. This is the first President who has no previous government, political experience. He is a businessman. He would like to do deals. He wants to do deals with India and other countries around the world,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said on Tuesday.
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He was speaking to reporters after the meeting of 22-member US delegation, which included both Republican and Democrat members, with Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The issue of H1B visa was also discussed during the meeting.
“He (Trump) is also assessing what deals US has done in the past are good and what may not be so good. He wants to make sure that as he does that, and as Congress works to advance the interest of constituents and create jobs in US, we want that it is done right so that it can benefit both US and India and other countries,” Goodlatte said.
He said that at this point of time they are not in position to say what all those policies would be.
“… we completely acknowledge right of US Congress and political leadership to reassess and reappraise but also keep the fact in the mind the kind of value the Indian minds, the Indian talents has contributed in making American companies more competitive and creating jobs and also creating revenue,” Prasad said.
The proposed overhaul of popular H-1B visa regime by the Trump administration has raised concerns among Indian IT firms, as any change in the visa regime may result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the USD 110-billion Indian outsourcing industry.
“We are both concerned about the importance of training our young people and creating opportunities for them and that is why we work together to create those opportunities. Certainly technology is a method of doing so.
“I will also say that as a great large democracy that India is and as we are the oldest democracy, I want to reinforce that partnerships of believing in democratic values,” Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District, said.
Indian IT sector provides employment to around 3.7 million people and is one of the largest private sector employers. It contributes 9.3 per cent to the country’s GDP.
An official source said that government has asked IT industry body Nasscom to lobby in the US to highlight the contribution of IT companies to the US economy.
According to sources, the US delegation raised issue of copyright, Intellectual property rights and difference in pay between US and Indian IT professionals. on the salary issue, the minister said that it is a business model which has been working for years and does not depend on governments. India is a big market and going to be USD 1 trillion digital economy in next 5-7 years, from which the US firms can benefit a lot, according to a source.
Prasad also told the delegation that IT companies in India having high market share are all US based, and the US government should consider all these points when they reassess policies, the source added.
The US accounts for nearly 62 per cent of the exports, while EU is the second largest market for the Indian IT services exporters with around 28 per cent contribution.
Recently, a US legislation (Lofgren Bill) has been introduced that proposes doubling of the minimum wages of H-1B visa holders to USD 130,000. The current H-1B minimum wage of USD 60,000 was fixed in 1989 and has since remained unchanged.
Such protectionist stance by the US could also spell more trouble for IT firms that are already facing strong headwinds from currency fluctuation and cautious client spending.
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