Barack Obama might have raised hopes on various economic fronts when he was elected back to head the United States, but international trade expert Jagdish Bhagwati is not as gung ho over his second term so far as outsourcing is concerned. He even termed Obama the worst US President for stifling outsourcing.
Bhagwati also did not see any conclusion of Doha round since "Obama is not interested in multi-lateral trade.”
When asked whether the United States will relax norms for H-IB visa, he today told Business Standard ,'' Obama is the worst President so far as deporting the largest number of people in the US history is concerned."
Professor Bhagwati is in India at the invitation of the Exim Bank to deliver the annual lecture in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The renowned economist said Obama's Dream Act to give children who have come with their parents work permit in the US is designed to help Hispanics and not Indians.
In his election campaign, Obama had adopted hawkish postures against industries that move jobs out of America.
Indian industry expressed hope that the US President would take a less aggressive stance on the industry in his second stint.
Bhagwati said that it would be virtually impossible to revive the Doha round of trade talks given the opposition to the forum by the United States.
“The Doha round is in intensive care and given the fact that President Obama has no interest in multi-lateral trade, it can be said to be virtually dead”, said Bhagwati, professor of economics and law, Columbia University.
He said the Indian government could have made some attempts to revive trade talks at Doha, but it could have impacted the strategic relationship between India and the United States. This could have led to Indian side not taking any pro-active steps to push for conclusive negotiations.
“The Doha agreement could have been a great advantage to developing nations. But Barack Obama has given no indication of any interest in framing multi-lateral trade agreements. The United States would rather frame trade agreements on a bilateral level where they can have more say in outlining the terms of a partnership. This is a real danger because it would in turn undermine rules and dispute settlements at the WTO”, Bhagwati added. The 78-year old said that emerging nations should now step into the ‘damage-control’ mode and explore ways to progress, post-Doha.
The contention comes at a time when trade ministers from 155 countries are set to meet in Bali, Indonesia in December 2013 to make a last attempt to save the Doha round of talks which have been languishing since 2001.
Delivering a lecture to mark 30 years of Exim Bank, Padma Desai, also a professor in Columbia University, said the possibility of the European Monetary Union collapsing is unlikely because of the fear of cascading effect on the entire continent.
On her lecture on "the Global Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences", she said the Obama government will tackle the fiscal cliff issue in the United States.