Restoration of H-1B visas on India’s agenda


While regional security issues and sale of defence equipment will continue to occupy prominent space in India’s confabulations with the new US administration, it will seek to restore H-1B visas and roll back trade disputes that have lingered unresolved through the four years of the Trump administration.

India will be seeking the restoration of the H-1B visa programme that has been availed by lakhs of Indians in the past but was suspended by Trump on grounds that they were taking away jobs meant for locals. US President-elect Joe Biden, during his election campaign, had promised to reverse many restrictions imposed by Trump on documented migration.

In this regard, India will again take up the issue of “totalisation agreement” which provides social security protection. India will be seeking to restore GSP, a scheme for duty-free tariff treatment of over 10 per cent of its exports to the US, estimated at nearly Rs 50,000 crores. What were zero duty exports now attract one to seven per cent cess on the top 15 GSP items.India’s walkout of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (RCEP) partnership signed between 15 countries will come in useful in parrying the US demands for accommodation in agricultural trade, removal of price controls on high-end medical devices and lower tariffs in industrial sectors, said sources. — TNS

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