India Ready to Address US Concerns Over Trade, Investment

Lalit K Jha/ Ajay Kaul/ Washington
India Ready to Address US Concerns Over Trade, Investment

India today expressed keenness in addressing concerns of the US with regard to investments and economic reforms in a "candid, open and transparent" manner but wants Washington to take care of visa issues which have implications for its IT sector.

Indian Ambassador Nirupma Rao said the country will take care of the US concerns in "a candid manner, open and transparent manner. We would like US to understand the development challenges that India faces, the situation in which we live in terms of the environment around us".

The US side, she added, "has some issues that it has raised from time to time, related to investments and economic reforms process in India".

Among the major pending issues, the US has been pressing for further opening of the insurance sector. A bill to increase the FDI cap in insurance from 26 per cent to 49 per cent has been pending in Parliament since 2008.

India, according to Rao, would take up the visa issue with the US administration which has a direct bearing on the IT sector in India.

"Trade grew rapidly in the recent years, touching USD 100 billion. Services is the engine of growth. This is why the ongoing discussion Comprehensive Immigration Reforms Bill and that aspect of the reforms that touches the skilled IT professionals from India has been receiving our close attention. So, this will be flagged," she said, referring to the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama. 

The Obama-Singh meeting would not only review the progress made in the relationship but also set the pace and scope of the ties between the two largest democracies of the world and help accelerate the momentum of the co-operation, Rao said at a media briefing.

With regard to the proposed changes in the non-immigrant visa rules that would affect H1B visas, she said though the issue is "still work in progress", the Indian side has voiced concern with US lawmakers.

She said if these restrictions become a reality, then the Indian IT professionals will be affected considering the kind of business module Indian companies have.

"We have been candid. Our concern is understood by our interlocutors but don't know what will happen... We don't know what the final shape will be," she added.


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