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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Tatas step up US lobbying on immigration, education issues

PTI  Washington/ New Delhi, October 27, 2013
First Published: 16:43 IST(27/10/2013) | Last Updated: 16:49 IST(27/10/2013)

The Tatas appear to have stepped up their lobbying in the US on various matters, including those related to immigration reforms and technical education issues, after remaining inactive on this front for over two years.

     
According to the latest Lobbying Disclosure Forms filed with the US Senate, Tata America International Corporation and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are among the entities whose lobbyists engaged in lobbying activities in the last quarter ended September 30, 2013.
 
Both these entities (Tata America International Corp directly and TCS through Banner Public Affairs) had engaged in lobbying activities in the second quarter of 2013 as well, after registering themselves earlier this year.
 
The Congressional lobbying records show that these Tata entities have spent more than Rs. 2 crore on their lobbying activities so far in 20013.
 
At the same time, another Tata entity, Tata Chemicals North America, terminated its lobbying registration in the US during the second quarter, while it has not reported any lobbying activity after the third quarter of 2010.
 
Till 2010, Tata Chemicals North America used to be relatively more active on lobbying activities, while a few other Tata entities, such as Tata Sons Ltd and Tata Inc, had also engaged in US lobbying activities in the past. However, they have terminated their respective registrations since then.
 
The Congressional records show that TCS used to be a registered entity for lobbying in the US earlier as well, but it terminated its past registration way back in August 2005.
 
Tata Inc's lobbying registration ended in July 2007, while that of Tata Sons ended in January 2011.
 
As per the latest lobbying disclosure forms, the specific issues on which Tata America International Corp and TCS lobbied during the last quarter included US-India relations, immigration reforms, STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) education issues, high-skilled workforce issues.
 
Lobbying is a legal activity in the US, but all the companies and their lobbyists need to file detailed disclosure reports every quarter.

While a whole lot of US companies regularly engage in lobbying, many entities from India and other places also do lobby here on a regular basis. These include even the Indian government, which has been regularly lobbying in the US since 2005.
 
In the last quarter, the Indian government spent $180,000 on lobbying and this amount has been same for many quarters now.
 
Among other Indian entities, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries used to be a very active in lobbying in the US, but it terminated its registration earlier this year.
 
Others that have ended their lobbying registration this year include All India Rice Exports Association and Sterling Biotech.
 
Indian entities that continue to lobby in the US include software industry body Nasscom (through two lobby firms, BGR and Lande Group), Devas Multimedia, ONGC Videsh, Carpet Export Promotion and LT Foods.
 
During the last quarter, at least 20 US-based entities, including large corporates like Walmart, Dell, Boeing and Pfizer, also lobbied with the two US Congress houses and various federal agencies on India-related issues.
 
Other entities include ExxonMobil, Alcatel Lucent, Corning Inc, CenterPoint Energy Inc, Chamber of Commerce of the USA, CMS Energy Corp, Duke Energy, US Chamber of Commerce, PHRMA, Genentech and Biocom.
 
The specific India-related lobby issues for these entities included World Trade Organization compliance, preferential market access regulations, carbon dioxide emission norms and intellectual property related issues.
 
Besides, Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI) lobbied on "issues relating to difficulties US businesses are having doing business in India", while entities like Boeing and Colgate Palmolive have listed Indo-US relations among their lobby issues.
 
Technology major IBM lobbied on "India Market Access issues and renewal of the generalized system of preferences".
 
Business Software Alliance (BSA) "lobbied on issues pertaining to market access for software products and services in international markets including, but not limited to, provisions related to intellectual property protection and market access for software products and services in China, India and other emerging markets."


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