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English Release 20-August 2014
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Ministry of Commerce & Industry16-May, 2007 19:53 IST
Kamal Nath flays US move on H1b visa – says will raise the issue at G-4 meeting in Brussels

TEXT OF KAMAL NATH’S PRESS STATEMENT ON H1B VISA ISSUE
Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, has said that the US move on utilisation of the special H1B visa by Indian IT companies restricting movement of skilled professionals would have an adverse impact on the rapidly expanding services trade and has warned that it would be difficult for India to enhance its commitments in the services negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) unless there is forward movement by trading partners like US in such areas.

Shri Kamal Nath has also said that he will raise this issue with Ms. Susan Schwab, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and in the G-4 meetings scheduled to be held in Brussels on May 17-19, 2007.

Following is the full text of the statement by Shri Kamal Nath on this subject:

“A letter written by two members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee (Sub- Committee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees) to some prominent Indian IT companies has been brought to my notice. The letter seeks details about the utilization of the special HIB visa programme by these companies.

I am surprised both with the form and content of the letter. Issues such as work visas are inter-governmental in nature and should be dealt with accordingly. Temporary movement of skilled professionals is an essential component of the global services economy and bears no relation to immigration issues. Any move which creates uncertainty and unpredictability about such movements will naturally have an adverse impact on the rapidly expanding services trade.

In recent years, India and the US have significantly expanded their bilateral engagement in services trade to mutual advantage. Indeed, the importance of knowledge-based services trade in the trade basket is a unique feature of India-US trade. For quite some time now, we have been discussing with the US regarding further liberalization of their regime for movement of skilled professionals to facilitate further expansion of this trade. At this juncture, we would be extremely concerned if there are efforts to circumscribe the existing levels of liberalization in this area in the United States.

I will be raising this issue with Ambassador Susan Schwab, USTR and in the G-4 meetings being held in Brussels on May 17-18, 2007. In previous discussions, I have informed Ambassador Schwab that while India continues to liberalise its services economy, it expects at least equal movement from important trading partners like the US in areas of our interest like Mode-4. Unless we see forward movement in such areas, it will be difficult for India to enhance its commitments in the services negotiations.

Services are an important component of the breakthrough in the current WTO negotiations and any move which vitiates the current progress will only frustrate the progress in bringing the round to a successful completion. I would like to assure Indian industry that India will not subscribe to any WTO conclusion without a satisfactory outcome in services”.

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SB/NR/MRS
(Release ID :27999)

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