The Government of India looks forward to the consultations with the United States at the WTO, scheduled for the 11th and 12th of May, 2016. India hopes that the United States will constructively engage with India to address its concerns regarding recent U.S. measures which impair the ability of both U.S. based Indian companies and Indian professionals to supply services in the U.S. The H-1B and L-1 categories of non-immigrants, for which there has been a significant fee hike, correspond with the categories of specialists and intra-corporate transferees, both of which are part of U.S.’ commitments under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services. These are also the same categories that are most extensively used by Indian service suppliers, especially in the IT sector, supplying services in the U.S.
India and the U.S. share a mutually inter-dependent and beneficial relationship in trade in services, which is well-documented. While the U.S. accounts for close to 60% of software exports from India, Indian IT professionals have had a positive role in contributing to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. The increasing volume of services trade has contributed to significant economic growth as well as creation of employment opportunities within the U.S. The situation therefore presents a win-win relationship for both nations.
The U.S. fee hike measures for the H-1B and L-1 categories are not only adversely affecting the competitiveness of India’s services industry engaged in the U.S. market, but also creating uncertainties for Indian service suppliers. They also run counter to the basic principles of a transparent and predictable trading environment, which lies at the very heart of the WTO agreements.
India is hopeful that deliberations during the WTO consultations shall be constructive and it would result in removal of these trade restrictive measures.