India US talk on visa fee and investments

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 04:40 hrs

At a high-level meeting between Commerce Secretary S R Rao and Assistant US trade representative Demetrios Marantis, on Monday, domestic issues like increase in visa fee and recent Indian regulations in solar technology policies were discussed that were of interest to both the sides.

"Americans would raise issues like domestic content in some sectors in India. India would raise issues such as visa fee. So, we raise our respective issues and tried to see that we conveyed a better understanding of our perspective on either side. And we hope we were successful in doing so," said Rajeev Kher, additional secretary, Ministry of Commerce.

The United States had raised visa fee in 2010 to fund its enhanced costs on securing border with Mexico under the Border Security Act. India has been protesting against the measure at different forums. India is also considering to drag the US to World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the matter. On the other hand, the US has also expressed its concern intermittently over certain Indian policies in renewable energy and clean technologies that it says inhibit investments by foreign firms who are interested in collaboration with local companies.

For example, under the National Solar Mission, India requires that crystalline cells be manufactured in India, a move which is strongly opposed by the US solar industry. According to reports, India has an ambitious target of generating 20,000 megawatt of solar power by 2022. The US is especially keen on grabbing a share of this market.

The bilateral trade between India and the US stood at about $ 60 billion in 2011-12.

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