Outsourcing, retail didn’t figure in delegation level talks

November 9th, 2010 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Two contentious issues - outsourcing and foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail - were not raised in the delegation-level talks during US President Barack Obama’s just concluded India visit, a senior minister said Tuesday.

“We didn’t raise this (outsourcing issue) during the delegation level talks,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.

“These matters have been raised both in writing by me before I left for Washington and later when the US-India trade policy forum met in early September,” Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.

Sharma said the US government had appreciated India’s concerns on the visa fee hike and the Ohio outsourcing ban. “I think our concerns on these issues have been registered and appreciated. We will wait for the next steps.”

In a similar vein, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said the United States didn’t raise the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail during the delegation-level talks.

“We didn’t really talk about that specifically,” Locke said when asked whether the US raised the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail in India.

Locke said the United States had urged India to remove trade and investment barriers in general.

“We were talking more in general terms about ensuring foreign direct investment in a whole host of fields and making sure that there is no barrier on investment, not just from the United States but from any other countries,” the US commerce secretary added.

The US government recently hiked H-1B and L1 visa fees for foreign companies, which is estimated to put an additional burden of $250 million annually on the Indian IT firms. Another blow for the $50 billion Indian outsourcing industry was the US state of Ohio’s recent ban on offshore outsourcing by government departments.

India has termed these as protectionist measures.

Sharma said India expected a positive outcome of the issue.

“President Obama was very clear in making a categorical commitment that the objective is to create jobs in both countries through our partnership,” he added.

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