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Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ pledge unnerves Indian IT companies

business Updated: Jan 23, 2017 08:55 IST
US elections

US president Donald Trump during the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017.(AFP)

Newly-elected US president Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American-hire American’ rallying cry has put the USD 150- billion Indian IT industry on edge, which is in waiting to see how the new administration evolves policies around outsourcing and movement of skilled workers.

India hopes to have a meaningful engagement with the US, electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Given that US market accounts for 60% of India’s IT exports, the industry and the government here will spare no efforts in their outreach programme over the next few weeks to showcase the role of Indian technology sector in making the US economy more competitive and highlight its contribution in terms of billions of dollars paid in taxes and creation of local jobs.

Read | India cautiously optimistic after Trump takes over as US president

“Indian IT companies are in 200 cities across 80 countries. They have added big value to the US, and given jobs to lakhs of people including American people there. I am given to understand that they have paid billions of dollars in tax... So they have added value to America in terms of money, by way of tax and also employment,” Prasad told PTI in an interview just hours before Trump was sworn in as the 45th US president.

Stating that India wishes to have a meaningful engagement with the Trump government, Prasad said: “We will await unfolding of his views about Indian IT companies’ outreach. We have already conveyed our views to them and we will continue (to do so).”

Trump’s ‘America First’ pledge, which formed the essence of his inaugural speech last Friday, has reinforced worries of protectionist posturing and unnerved the Indian IT industry which, as it is, has been battling headwinds of a slowing growth.

Read | Americans, you will never be ignored again: Full transcript of Trump’s speech

Trump has vowed to rebuild the country using “American hands” and his inaugural was punctuated with lines like Buy American and Hire American.

“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength,” Trump said.