US Commerce Secretary seeks to assuage Indian IT industry, calls for unshackling FDI blocks

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Mumbai, Nov.6 (ANI): The United States has sought to assuage the Indian information and technology industry, saying that India has not been singled out on the issue of rise in visa fee.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told a private news channel here that countries like South Korea and Taiwan will also pay more to get a U.S. visa.

Locke said that he would be leading a high-tech trade mission to India from February 6-11, 2011 with the objective of promoting the export of high-technology products from leading US firms.

The American team would visit New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

"Exports are leading the US economic recovery, spurring future economic growth and creating jobs in America," Locke said.

"Increasing trade between the US and India will help drive innovation and create jobs in both countries. As trading partners, US companies can help India meet the ambitious economic and social goals laid out by its government, while the Indian market holds enormous potential for US exporters," Locke said.

Locke, who is accompanying Obama on his four-day India visit, told a business meeting in Mumbai on Saturday that Indian policies toward foreign investment, as also for exports, were not exactly transparent.

'These rules will halt rather than stimulate foreign investment. All that the US business seeks is level-playing field for its companies and a genuine competition,' Locke told the meeting attended by American and Indian business honchos.

Locke sought to ally apprehensions that the move to hike the visa fee to shore up an additional 600 million dollars to beef up security along its borders with Mexico was not aimed at Indian companies.

According to a rediff.com report, next year's trade mission from the United States would highlight export opportunities for US businesses in a broad range of advanced industrial sectors, including civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation, and information and communication.

Exports represent a critical part of the economy and are a key component of the Obama administration's efforts to spur new job creation.

Earlier this year, President Obama outlined his National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double exports by 2015, in support of several million new US jobs.

The NEI enhances the U.S. government's trade promotion efforts, increases credit to businesses - especially small and medium-sized businesses - looking to export and continues to improve efforts to remove trade barriers for US companies in foreign markets.

According to the web site, the Department of Commerce, through the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), leads the administration's trade promotion efforts. The TPCC provides a platform for the Secretary of Commerce to advance a government-wide agenda on trade promotion and to directly engage the heads of the other TPCC agencies.

Commerce's International Trade Administration helps American companies export their products and services around the world, utilizing some 1,500 U.S. Commercial Service staff stationed in 77 countries across the globe.

Last year, the US Commercial Service helped facilitate billions of dollars in US export sales, supporting jobs across the country. Washington has decided to increase the visa fee to raise an additional 600 million dollars to beef up border security along its border with Mexico. (ANI)

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