American firms are earning their profits in India too: Sitharaman

Sitharaman said developed countries are now putting protectionist walls for labour flow.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

Concerned over the Indian firms impacted by tightening visa norms by the US, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that the entire debate also has to be extended to include several American companies that are reaping profits on the Indian soil.

“Let us also understand that not just Indian companies in the US, several big US companies are in India too. They are also here, they are earning their margins, they are earning their profits which go to the US economy,” she said.

The comments from the Minister assume significance when Indian firms, specifically IT services providers, are getting worried over the protectionist measures undertaken by US, Australia and recently Singapore.

“So, it is a situation where it's not just unilateral just Indian companies having to face the US executive order, there are several US companies in India who are doing business for some years now and therefore I want this whole debate to be ... if it has to be expanded, it has to be expanded to include all these aspects and we shall ensure that all these factors are kept in mind,” Sitharaman said.

She further said that developed countries are now clearly putting protectionist walls for labour flow and a global framework backed by WTO is needed for facilitating trade in services.

She cited the examples of UK, US, New Zealand and Australia – the countries which are changing their visa rules and making them stricter when taking in skilled workers.

“And this is the time when there has to be a global framework in which services trade can happen, she said, while adding that India is actively pursuing its proposal in WTO.

The aim of the proposal is to liberalise norms for the flow of skilled professionals and other measures to cut transaction costs in order to enhance growth of services. India is pitching for this proposal at WTO as the services industry contributes more than 60% to the country’s GDP and 28% to the total employment.