Revise trade laws, tariffs: U.S. Ambassador

Kenneth Juster says you can’t attract investment and build industry by creating higher duties or more regulation Calling upon India to rethink trade barriers, tariffs and regulations in order to become a “hub” for innovation and production, U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Juster says that India and the U.S. need to see trade relations as an “important strategic element” of their ties. “I still think there’s a notion here that you can attract investment and build industry by creating higher tariffs or more regulation, or by directing resources in a certain direction,” Mr. Juster said at a function in the capital to talk about the bilateral relationship. He made a particular mention of barriers for the technology industry, including a Reserve Bank order telling technology companies to base all their servers in India. In an answer to Parliament last month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made it clear that she would raise the US’s proposed legislation to cut down H-1B visas during the talks as well. “We are already raising the issue formally at various fora… We will raise it humbly at the 2+2 dialogue on September 6 in New Delhi,” Ms. Swaraj said in the Rajya Sabha, admitting that the government had several “apprehensions” about the U.S. visa policy. Countering those concerns, Mr. Juster said the problem was that India’s economy was not “open” enough. “There is simply no reason there shouldn’t be more innovation and entrepreneurship taking place in India, rather than having 300,000 Indian entrepreneurs doing their work in the United States,” Mr. Juster told a gathering at the American Centre in Delhi.

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