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Ajay Banga to head trade body, boost ties

Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga was on Sunday announced the next chairman of the US-Indian Business Council, taking over in the midst of recent trade disputes between the two countries.

business Updated: Apr 16, 2012 23:30 IST
HT Correspondent

Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga was on Sunday announced the next chairman of the US-Indian Business Council, taking over in the midst of recent trade disputes between the two countries.

Banga will succeed Harold “Terry” McGraw III, chairman and CEO of McGraw-Hill, during whose two-year tenure USIBC added 100 new members.

“As a long time supporter and member of USIBC, I have witnessed the Council’s stature and influence rise dramatically as a direct result of the iconic leadership provided by former chairs Chip Kaye, Indra Nooyi, and Terry McGraw,” Banga said.

USIBC is a leading advocacy group for US and Indian business and trade ties set up at the behest of the two governments, and counts 350 leading companies as members.

Trade between the two countries stood at $57.79 billion in 2011, growing manifold from the modest $5.6 billion in 1990.

But there have been some niggling disputes recently that officials on both sides said they can do without.

India recently said it will complain to the World Trade Organisation against the US visa system that discriminated against its IT workers.

A visa fee hike mandated by a 2010 US law — doubling it to $4,500 — has affected Indian companies such as Infosys and Wipro, who together paid and estimated $200 million in extra fees.

The US, on the other hand, has gone to WTO complaining against India’s failure to open up with poultry sector to its exports, calling it discriminatory.

There are other major and minor disputes. While Banga will not be expected to resolve them, the advocacy group he now heads will be dealing with them. The group’s other important task is to increase investments — by US companies in India and by Indians in the US.