April 23, 2024

India, US discuss easier visa access for traders, investors | India News

NEW DELHI: India and the US are discussing easier visa access for traders and investors through the E1 and E2 categories, a regime that can be accessed by “treaty” countries, and also looking at a proposal to allow H1B visas holders and their family members to renew their visa in America, without having to come back.
The proposals, along with India’s demand for faster processing of business and tourist visas, was discussed during a meeting of the India-US Trade Policy Forum on Friday.
“The (Indian) commerce department and the ministry of external affairs have been working together on several issues and we had a very good year in 2023 in our relationship with the US,” said commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, who co-chairs the Trade Policy Forum with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
India has also previously demanded that the US allow its domestic companies to participate in the American government procurement as it would help in boosting exports, an official said. To participate, India has asked the US to designate it as a Trade Agreement Act-compliant country.
The official said the big takeaways for India in the TPF meet were good progress on the proposed resumption of export benefits to certain Indian goods under the USA’s GSP (generalised system of preferences) programme; initiation of formal discussions on designating India a TAA-compliant nation; and treaty status for visas.
If India were treated as a TAA-compliant nation, it would facilitate the movement of goods in their public procurement.
“So, that will add and facilitate our exports,” the official said, adding, however, India will also have to give access to US firms for the same. “It is reciprocal. India will also have to give them (US) concessions. That is what we are doing with the UK also. We have asked the US side to formulate terms of reference. They will also evaluate our procurement system,” the official further said on the matter.
India and the US are also looking at an arrangement where BIS certification for American companies will be fast-tracked in return for faster USFDA approval and checks for Indian pharma companies.

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