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Subsidy, visa fee not to hit Indo-US bilateral economic ties: Francisco J Sanchez

Posted on November 10, 2011
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Differences over issues like subsidies or visa fees will not derail growing bilateral economic ties between India and the US, says US under secretary of commerce for international trade Francisco J Sanchez . Excerpts from an interview with ET .

Are you frustrated with India acting slow on FDI in multi-brand retail?

Retail is one of those areas where changes in policies would be mutually beneficial. It could be done in a way that it has a positive impact on agricultural community and producers. One way for India to tackle its food security is to be more productive and efficient in its supply chain. I think multi-brand retailing will play a positive role in that.

What is the solution to the US demand on subsidies by India?

We have a very solid commercial relationship and we are bound to have differences. The goal is not about eliminating all differences, but to manage them well. Both countries recognise the overriding value of growing and building this relationship. So, I don’t see any one issue, in this case subsidies, that would derail us from working together to resolve our differences and take advantage of joint opportunities.

Will India’s concern over increased professional visa fees in the US ever get resolved?

The department of commerce has looked at the issue, not just for India but across the world. We need to be promoting policies when it comes to visa for entering our country that supports business and investment. We have been working very closely with departments of state and homeland security to see what we can do to improve that process. I think improvements in general have been made, but there are still challenges.

How will the deadlock in the Doha round of WTO talks get sorted out?

Things are different from when we started the Doha round. If we were to present to our Congress the proposals on the table that are estimated to get benefits for our US companies equal to one day’s exports from the country, the Congress would think we are crazy. What is on the table is inequitable and not feasible. We do have to look at ways to work together that strengthen a rule-based trading system so that we continue to lower barriers and expand trade.

Are you apprehensive of the EU debt crisis spreading to other parts of the world?

When I look at some of the challenges that the EU is facing, I feel that countries like India and the US need to do a few things to weather the storm. They need to have macro economic policies that promote stability and growth. India, like the US, needs a diversified grouping of trading partners. It has to look at ways to expand trade and the best way to do that is to reduce barriers in both direction.

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