India will take up the issue of the quota for H1B visas for Indian tech employees working in the US when the US trade representative visits New Delhi next in September, Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of commerce and industry said on Wednesday, reports Banikinkar Pattanayak in New Delhi. Last week two US lawmakers introduced in the House of Representative a piece of legislation which, if approved by Congress, would prevent Indian companies from recruiting IT professionals on H1B and L1 work visas. “We have raised this earlier and will talk to them on the visa issue at the strategic commercial dialogue. We are also getting ready to challenge
this at the WTO,” Sitharaman said in an interview.
Post Brexit, India will need to calibrate the free trade agreement with the European Commission (EC), Sitharaman said.
We expect our EU counterparts to give us dates for the resumption of FTA negotiations,” the minister said, adding, “(the EU FTA) shouldn’t be worse for us (even without the UK)”. The offers, however, have to be tempered because Britain is now out of the EU, the minister said.
The minister said US tech giant Apple had not approached the ministry to set up retail outlets in India post the change in the local sourcing norms for companies that offer state of the art or cutting edge technology foreign direct investment regulations.
Sitharaman said the share of manufacturing goods in the exports basket had risen. She said her ministry continued to be in discussions with the finance ministry on extracting concessions for special economic zones, especially tax sops such as the exemption from minimum alternate tax. The new textiles policy, she said, would give manufacturers incentives to be able to compete in the international market. Besides, India had allocated Rs 500 crore to create special purpose vehicles that would facilitate Indian companies to set up units in countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and take advantage of trade rules of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.