US launches another probe into investment, trade policies of India

By: | Published: November 5, 2014 3:20 AM

US International Trade Commission has started an investigation into India's trade and investment policies.

For the second time since last year, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) — an independent, non-partisan, fact-finding federal agency — has started an investigation into India’s trade and investment policies.

In 2013, the committees (House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance) had asked USITC to investigate Indian policies that allegedly restrict US trade and investment. The USITC will submit its report on that on December 15 this year.

The latest probe, according to a USITC statement on October 28, is to find out whether there are significant changes since mid-2014 by the new government to the country’s trade and investment policies.

The investigation was requested jointly by the two committees in a letter received on September 25. The USITC expects to deliver the report to the committees by September 24 next year, the statement said.

USITC makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general fact-finding reports. Such reports are subsequently released to the public unless they are classified for national security reasons.

In the request letter for the new investigation, the committees stated: “Given the recent national elections in India and the formation of a new BJP-led government, and our interest in receiving the most comprehensive and up-to-date information possible, we now request that the commission conduct a second investigation concerning India’s industrial policies that discriminate against US trade and investment since the first ITC investigation.”

The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with this investigation on April 7, 2015, it said, adding that requests to appear at the hearing should be filed by March 24, 2015. Written submissions on this investigation should be submitted by June 2, 2015, it said.

FE had reported on September 1 that 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. These include US visa policies affecting the IT industry and on the issue of finalising an India-US totalisation pact (to exempt Indian professionals employed in the US from shelling out taxes on medicare and social security).

Although the trigger are some US policies seen as adverse to India’s interests, the idea is to make a permanent arrangement for evaluating the impact of policies of key trading partners on the country’s economy. These investigations will be done in an objective manner, largely on the lines of the USITC probes, sources had said.

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