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Developed nations raising protectionist walls: Nirmala Sitharaman

India submitted proposal to WTO seeking agreement on trade facilitation in services, minister said

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman

India on Thursday expressed concern over moves of certain countries like the and to tighten their regime and pressed for a World Trade Organisation-backed (WTO-backed) global framework to facilitate trade.

Commerce and Industry Minister said India has submitted a proposal to the seeking an agreement on trade facilitation in

Citing the examples of the US, the UK, and New Zealand, which are tightening their regime 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 can happen. We will be actively pursuing our proposal in the WTO," she told reporters here.

The trade facilitation agreement in proposal is aimed at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs to boost the growth of the sector.

India is pitching for this pact in the as the sector contributes over 60 per cent to the GDP and 28 per cent to total employment. The move is aimed at developing a broader framework governing global trade, just like a similar pact implemented by the on goods trade.

Sitharaman said, "India wants all the member countries to study the proposal before the forthcoming ministerial meeting of in December at Argentina."

Talking about the executive order signed by the 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.

However, the minister said, she is in touch with the Indian industry on these issues amid fears that the new American regime would make visas more expensive and restrictive.

She further said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the US, would take up the matter with the administration.

"It is not just the US, but several countries now adopting such measures," she said adding the government and the industry needs to work together on the issue.

Sitharaman said India would engage with these countries to sort out the related matters.

The restrictive regime would also impact the companies that are operating in India, she added.

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

When asked whether India would drag the and to the WTO's dispute resolution mechanism, she said: "At this stage, we will engage constructively. At the same time, India will ensure that it will not accept unfair treatment".

Indian IT companies use temporary work visas to send employees to work on client sites. With programmes in these countries becoming more rigorous, domestic technology firms will face challenges in the movement of skilled professionals and spike in their operational costs.

These companies get over 60 per cent of their revenues from the North American market, about 20 per cent from Europe and the remaining from the other economies.

With the rising protectionism across markets like the US, the UK, Singapore and Australia, domestic companies are beginning to adjust their business models to reduce their dependence on visas by hiring more locals.

The US, under a new executive order, proposes to replace the current lottery system for issuing H-1B work visas with a merit-based approach. The country is reviewing its programme for foreign workers to also curb abuse and frauds related to visas.

Similarly, has abolished a work programme -- 457 -- used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.

New Zealand, too, is introducing tougher norms for immigrant workers. One of the changes will need immigrants to get a job in which they earn at least the median income to qualify as skilled.

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Developed nations raising protectionist walls: Nirmala Sitharaman

India submitted proposal to WTO seeking agreement on trade facilitation in services, minister said

India submitted proposal to WTO seeking agreement on trade facilitation in services, minister said
India on Thursday expressed concern over moves of certain countries like the and to tighten their regime and pressed for a World Trade Organisation-backed (WTO-backed) global framework to facilitate trade.

Commerce and Industry Minister said India has submitted a proposal to the seeking an agreement on trade facilitation in

Citing the examples of the US, the UK, and New Zealand, which are tightening their regime 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 can happen. We will be actively pursuing our proposal in the WTO," she told reporters here.

The trade facilitation agreement in proposal is aimed at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs to boost the growth of the sector.

India is pitching for this pact in the as the sector contributes over 60 per cent to the GDP and 28 per cent to total employment. The move is aimed at developing a broader framework governing global trade, just like a similar pact implemented by the on goods trade.

Sitharaman said, "India wants all the member countries to study the proposal before the forthcoming ministerial meeting of in December at Argentina."

Talking about the executive order signed by the 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.

However, the minister said, she is in touch with the Indian industry on these issues amid fears that the new American regime would make visas more expensive and restrictive.

She further said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the US, would take up the matter with the administration.

"It is not just the US, but several countries now adopting such measures," she said adding the government and the industry needs to work together on the issue.

Sitharaman said India would engage with these countries to sort out the related matters.

The restrictive regime would also impact the companies that are operating in India, she added.

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

When asked whether India would drag the and to the WTO's dispute resolution mechanism, she said: "At this stage, we will engage constructively. At the same time, India will ensure that it will not accept unfair treatment".

Indian IT companies use temporary work visas to send employees to work on client sites. With programmes in these countries becoming more rigorous, domestic technology firms will face challenges in the movement of skilled professionals and spike in their operational costs.

These companies get over 60 per cent of their revenues from the North American market, about 20 per cent from Europe and the remaining from the other economies.

With the rising protectionism across markets like the US, the UK, Singapore and Australia, domestic companies are beginning to adjust their business models to reduce their dependence on visas by hiring more locals.

The US, under a new executive order, proposes to replace the current lottery system for issuing H-1B work visas with a merit-based approach. The country is reviewing its programme for foreign workers to also curb abuse and frauds related to visas.

Similarly, has abolished a work programme -- 457 -- used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.

New Zealand, too, is introducing tougher norms for immigrant workers. One of the changes will need immigrants to get a job in which they earn at least the median income to qualify as skilled.
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Business Standard
177 22

Developed nations raising protectionist walls: Nirmala Sitharaman

India submitted proposal to WTO seeking agreement on trade facilitation in services, minister said

India on Thursday expressed concern over moves of certain countries like the and to tighten their regime and pressed for a World Trade Organisation-backed (WTO-backed) global framework to facilitate trade.

Commerce and Industry Minister said India has submitted a proposal to the seeking an agreement on trade facilitation in

Citing the examples of the US, the UK, and New Zealand, which are tightening their regime 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 can happen. We will be actively pursuing our proposal in the WTO," she told reporters here.

The trade facilitation agreement in proposal is aimed at liberalising rules for movement of professionals and other steps to reduce transaction costs to boost the growth of the sector.

India is pitching for this pact in the as the sector contributes over 60 per cent to the GDP and 28 per cent to total employment. The move is aimed at developing a broader framework governing global trade, just like a similar pact implemented by the on goods trade.

Sitharaman said, "India wants all the member countries to study the proposal before the forthcoming ministerial meeting of in December at Argentina."

Talking about the executive order signed by the 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.

However, the minister said, she is in touch with the Indian industry on these issues amid fears that the new American regime would make visas more expensive and restrictive.

She further said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the US, would take up the matter with the administration.

"It is not just the US, but several countries now adopting such measures," she said adding the government and the industry needs to work together on the issue.

Sitharaman said India would engage with these countries to sort out the related matters.

The restrictive regime would also impact the companies that are operating in India, she added.

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

When asked whether India would drag the and to the WTO's dispute resolution mechanism, she said: "At this stage, we will engage constructively. At the same time, India will ensure that it will not accept unfair treatment".

Indian IT companies use temporary work visas to send employees to work on client sites. With programmes in these countries becoming more rigorous, domestic technology firms will face challenges in the movement of skilled professionals and spike in their operational costs.

These companies get over 60 per cent of their revenues from the North American market, about 20 per cent from Europe and the remaining from the other economies.

With the rising protectionism across markets like the US, the UK, Singapore and Australia, domestic companies are beginning to adjust their business models to reduce their dependence on visas by hiring more locals.

The US, under a new executive order, proposes to replace the current lottery system for issuing H-1B work visas with a merit-based approach. The country is reviewing its programme for foreign workers to also curb abuse and frauds related to visas.

Similarly, has abolished a work programme -- 457 -- used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, majority of them Indians, to tackle the growing unemployment in the country.

New Zealand, too, is introducing tougher norms for immigrant workers. One of the changes will need immigrants to get a job in which they earn at least the median income to qualify as skilled.

image
Business Standard
177 22