China may join India in opposing new US visa norms
20 Aug 2010
China may join India in opposing the US Border Security Act, which almost doubles the H1B and L1 visa fees for professionals. Quoting government sources, CNBC-TV18 reports that India may raise the issue during Barack Obama's India visit in October.
Calling the Bill 'clearly discriminatory', the commerce ministry says that it directed at certain nations including India.
The sources add that the visa row will hamper US market access to India. It is willing to give time to US to respond to concerns posed by India. The government will ensure that India Inc's interest is safeguarded.
The amended US Border Bill Act has hiked H1B visa fees by about $2,000.This would afect India's Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies, Wipro and Mahindra Satyam. The Indian trade secretary had earlier said that the Bill is not WTO-complaint.
Other reports say India is exploring ways to corner the US at the WTO. India is exploring the option of filing a joint complaint at WTO along with China and other countries that are impacted by the higher visa fees.
Officials have also said that while the commerce ministry is studying the new US Act, it is convinced that the move violates global trade principles like national treatment. The new US Border Act implies that Indian companies like Wipro and TCS will fund security related expenditure in the United States.
The move is expected to increase the cost burden of Indian companies by about $200 million annually. The question is whether the US will relent on the matter at the cost of its market interests in India.
This would mean greater market access for US to companies in India would be affected unless India's concerns on the visa fees are addressed first. At stake are the interests of US companies in sectors like retail and even nuclear power equipment in the subcontinent.