India, US to discuss visa restrictions, greater market access and other issues during Modi visit

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New Delhi: India and the US will deliberate on a host of issues, including visa restrictions, movement of professionals and greater market access, during the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to America.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Totalisation issue, visa issue and mode-IV labour movement issue. There are several such issues which will be taken up before the visit and some of them during the visit.”

She said the issue of greater market access for the Indian pharma sector to the US may also come up for talks.

Modi will meet US President Barack Obama at the White House on September 29-30.

India wants early conclusion of the Totalisation Agreement with America. Under this pact an expatriate in either country need not contribute to social security schemes of the host country. The country has also raised concerns over the visa restrictions and US Immigration Bill.

The United States Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernisation Bill, 2013 seeks to deny access to visas or place additional visa related restrictions including higher fees.

India had already conveyed that these steps are not only discriminatory but also creates an unequal playing field for Indian IT companies.

The Bill has not yet been enacted.

The bilateral trade between the countries stood at USD 61.5 billion in 2013-14.

Further, Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said on September 17, he is meeting with Deputy US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler to discuss various issues related with trade and investment.

“This meeting will prepare agenda for the Ministerial level meeting between India and the US,” Kher said. The Ministerial level meeting is expected after Modi’s visit to America.

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