Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu to raise H-1B visa, steel duty, WTO issues with USTR, American commerce secretary

New Delhi: Import duty hike on certain steel and aluminium items and visa restrictions are among the key issues to be flagged by Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu during his meeting with the US Trade Representative (USTR) and American commerce secretary.

Prabhu will visit Washington and New york during his five-day visit beginning from 10 June.

"I have a meeting with USTR and also with their commerce secretary. We will raise the issue of unilateral actions by the US, the recent restrictions put on (movement of professionals) and imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium," Prabhu told PTI.

He said that India is engaging with the US at every level as there are huge business opportunities for American companies here.

File photo of union minister Suresh Prabhu. AFP

File photo of union minister Suresh Prabhu. AFP

"We want to make sure that we have a much bigger agenda with the US," he said, adding there is a market for the US in the civil aviation sector in India.

The minister would also meet private players besides think tanks which influence US decision making.

India has time and again raised its concerns over tightening visa restrictions by the US on IT professionals.

The proposed overhaul of popular H-1B visa regime by the US President Donald Trump has raised concerns among Indian IT firms, as any changes in the visa regime may result in higher operational costs and shortage of skilled workers for the $110 billion Indian outsourcing industry.

The country also expressed its disappointment over the US imposition of high import duties on certain steel and aluminium products. India has also dragged the US in WTO's dispute settlement system against the decision.

India's exports of steel and aluminium products to America stood at about $1.5 billion every year.

The US too has filed a complaint against India's export support programmes. It alleged that those schemes are harming its companies.

India's exports to the US in 2016-17 stood at $42.21 billion, while imports were $22.3 billion.

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Updated Date: May 25, 2018 15:52:18 IST

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