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India, US get blunt on trade hurdles

business Updated: Jun 13, 2012 23:46 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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India and the US on Tuesday got blunt with each other — as only friends or partners could, they said -- and vented their frustrations with each other, mostly on business.

President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser started it, saying as strategic partners the two countries must have a “open and frank” discussion on slow reforms.

Welcoming external affairs minister SM Krishna at an event hosted by the US-India Business Council, Michael Froman listed the troubled civil nuclear deal and new taxes -- an indirect reference to retrospective taxation believed to target Vodafone — among issues that India needed to address.

Krishna was due to co-chair on Wednesday the third strategic dialogue with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

“I am aware of the concerns of the US businesses,” Krishna said and went on to list Indian woes.

He listed out New Delhi’s concerns about a continued US cutbacks in H1B and L1 temporary work visas for Indians. In fact, India has threatened to take the US to WTO on this.

He spoke of “the protectionist sentiments against the global supply chain in services industry,” and “the refusal to even consider a Social Security Agreement that affects the lives of 300,000 non-immigrant Indian professionals in the United States.”

Krishna also complained against the persisting presence of India in the US trade and labour department lists for actions that could hinder trade.