In a counterblow, New Delhi is planning to institutionalise and regularise “general fact-finding investigations” into what it believes “restrictive American policies discriminating against and detrimental to” Indian trade and investment.
Although the trigger are some US policies seen as adverse to India's interests, the idea is to make a permanent arrangement for evaulating the impact of policies of key trading parters on the country's economy.
Official sources told FE that these investigations will be done in an objective manner, largely on the lines of the US International Trade Commission's (USITC) probes.
The plan assumes significance as it comes ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, slated for the last week of September.
Acting on a request by the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance, the USITC (a federal fact-finding agency that is independent and non-partisan) had decided to focus this year on India’s policies on industry, trade and investment and its impact on the US economy sector-wise. The USITC report is likely by November-end.
The USITC follows an approach involving doing case studies, conducting public hearings, looking into written submissions and carrying out quantitative analysis to finalise its report. However, it does not make any policy recommendations.
India’s approach of looking into US policies will be similar and a “permanent arrangement” will be made in this regard, the sources said, indicating the establishment of a USITC and Special 301 kind of set-up. There will also be regular editions of such reports of Indian fact-finding agencies so that “all obstacles” to the country's trade and investment are documented annually and updated, they said. Initiatives will also be taken at the bilateral fora to ensure that the US comes out with “corrective measures”.
However, they added that similar reports on policies of other countries and their impact on the Indian economy could also be done later by such an Indian agency/agencies.
The sources said that in the interim, New Delhi will continue to rely on industry bodies like Nasscom, Ficci, CII and Assocham, Indian embassy and consulates in the US as well as major think tanks, such as Icrier, for information on US policies impacting Indian economy. Sources pointed at the inputs given by Nasscom and other bodies on US visa policies affecting the IT industry and on the issue of finalising an India-US totalisation agreement (to exempt Indian professionals employed in the US from shelling out taxes on