India conveys "serious concern" to US on outsourcing ban

"We have expressed our serious concern to the US through a communication," he said, adding that the measures on outsourcing and the increase in fees for H-1B and L-1 visa were "regressive." Talking to reporters after the award ceremony of the Engineering Export Promotion Council here, Sharma said India is examining whether there is any violation of the WTO agreement on services.

"Every country has its own WTO commitments, we will have to examine if there is violation of Mode 3 and Mode 4 (clauses relating to free flow of services across borders)," he said. Sharma, who would be co-chairing the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) in Washington on September 21 along with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, said, "We have already flagged this to the US... We intend to place it on the table for discussion. I hope they will reflect and we will be able to find a meaningful solution."

He said in a globalised world, policy-makers and decision-makers must take a global view. Sharma's comments come a day after US President Barack Obama hit out at US companies outsourcing their work to offshore locations like India. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has banned offshore outsourcing by government departments. Earlier, the US increased professional visa fees significantly to fund its USD 600 million programme to secure its border with Mexico.

Sharma said the Indian IT industry has made a notable contribution to global business and is respected worldwide. He said while several countries have resorted to protectionist measures after the economic downturn in 2008-09, these are counter-productive. "Needless to say there is a need to engage more," the minister said.

Sharma, who would visit the campus of Infosys Technologies tomorrow, said if an IT professional wants to visit abroad, it must not be made difficult or impossible by "raising the bar each time."

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