10 November 2010
Obama softens on offshoring but not US Visa issues during India tour
In India this week, US President Barack Obama’s message to Indian leaders on offshoring was of the benefit of trade works both ways.
A few months ago, Congress raised the fees on H-1B US Visas, a move that will greatly affect Indian IT companies, and during the mid-term election the Democrats, in particular, were strong opponents of offshore outsourcing.
These moves have put the India government and its IT industry on edge, but during his tour of India President Barack Obama reshaped offshoring as part of international trade.
"I want to be able to say to the American people when they ask me, well, 'why are you spending time with India, aren't they taking our jobs?' I want to be able to say, actually, you know what, they just created 50,000 jobs.
“And that's why we shouldn't be resorting to protectionist measures; we shouldn't be thinking that it's just a one-way street. I want both the citizens in the United States and citizens in India to understand the benefits of commercial ties between the two countries," President Obama said.
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India is not in the business of stealing jobs from the United States of America.
"Our outsourcing industry, I believe, has helped to improve the productive capacity and productivity of American industry," he said.
India is seeking a number of things from the US, including creation of a new service US Visa, apart from the H-1B visas that could be used by firms that engage in IT services work.