New Delhi: More H1B visas, tariff reductions and removal of non-tariff barriers… all these can become a reality, if India comes back to the negotiating table and stops objecting to the agriculture subsidies awarded to farmers in the US. Speaking on the sidelines of a summit on Indian investments in the US, David Bohigan, assistant secretary of the US department of commerce, said India should make good on the missed opportunities after the failure of the Doha Round of trade talks in Geneva recently.
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Bohigian went on to add, “In relation to important market liberalization, agriculture services and manufacturing, one of the issues on the table in the Doha round was mode four or the movement of professionals as well as potential to raise the cap on H1B visas. By not participating fully in the Doha round, India missed an opportunity to be able to work on those issues which is so important for its future. ”
Despite Bohigian’s exhortations, experts say India should not give in to pressure. Subir Gokarn, chief economist, Asia Pacific region at Standard and Poor’s, says, “When you look back in the evolution of our positions in trade talks going back to the Uruguay round which concluded in 1994, our full position has changed dramatically from almost seeing ourselves as victims of a process that we were too insignificant to influence and getting the short end of the stick to now a major player and influencer and a country that’s able to create very effective coalitions.”
Bohigan says he will be lobbying hard with ministers in India to get a breakthrough on issues that could not be negotiated due to the breakdown of the Doha round. Is commerce minister Kamal Nath listening?