Home Top Story We will not accept unfair treatment Sitharaman

We will not accept unfair treatment Sitharaman





(The News Bureau)

Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the whole debate has to be expanded to include several American firms that are earning their profits in India.

The comments assume significance in the wake of Indian companies

specially IT services providers, getting concerned over protectionism by the US and several other countries.

Sitharaman said, “Let us also understand that not just Indian companies in the US, several big US companies are in India too. They are also here, they are earning their margins, they are earning their profits which goes to the US economy.

“So, it is a situation where it’s not just unilateral, just Indian companies having to face the US executive order, there are several US companies in India who are doing business for some years now and therefore I want this whole debate to be … If it has to be expanded, it has to be expanded to include all these aspects and we shall ensure that all these factors are kept in mind.”

The minister said that developed nations are now clearly raising protectionist walls with regard to flow of labour and a WTO-backed global framework is ne

eeded to facilitate the services trade.

Citing examples of the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, which are making their visa norms stricter for movement of skilled professionals, she said: “Countries are now very clearly raising protectionist walls as regards service trade.”

“And it is time that we have a global framework within which trade in services can happen. We will be actively pursuing our proposal in the WTO,” she told reporters. The proposal is aimed at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs to boost services growth.

Reacting to the executive order signed by US President Donald Trump on H1B visas, she said America has committed a certain number of these visas to India and “we would definitely want America to honour that commitment”.

The minister is in touch with the Indian industry on these issues amid fears that the new American visa regime would make visas more expensive and restrictive. She further said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the US, would take up the matter with the US administration.

“It is not just the US, but several countries now adopting such measures,” she said, suggesting that the government and the industry need to work together on the issue.

According to Sitharaman, India will engage with these countries to sort out the visa related matters. The restrictive visa regime would also impact the US companies that are operating in India.

“So, it is not a unilateral issue where Indian companies would have to face this, there are several US companies in India which are doing business for years here,” she said.

Asked whether India would drag the US and Australia to the WTO’s dispute reso

lution mechanism, she said: “At this stage, we will engage constructively. At the same time, India will ensure it will not accept unfair treatment.”

Speaking at the Hero Mindmine Summit, Sitharaman said India has asked the WTO for a special session to discuss “why trade facilitation in services cannot be formalised”.

She was surprised that trade in services does not have any global framework despite the fact that “trade in services has a very big chunk” in global trade. The minister said she always protests when movement of skilled professionals is being equated with asylum-seeking migrants.

She rejected the view of developed countries that Indian professionals are taking away their jobs. Citing an example, she said the UK charges extra visa fee and uses that money to train their own people.





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