Donald Trump presidency: Tempered optimism prevails in India
NV Srinivasan, the president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, shares his views on what Donald Trump’s presidency might mean for India.
How do you feel about Trump coming to power?
Trump is a successful businessman himself, so we are expecting him to appreciate a lot of important factors for economic and trade ties with India. He has said that he likes India, so I think he would look at things positively. The Indian government has decided to go hand-in-hand with the US and [prime minister] Narendra Modi will try to maintain the same relationship with Trump as with Obama.
What are you hoping for under the Trump regime?
We’re expecting a lot of things to happen on the trade front. When he comes out with his economic and foreign policy vis-a-vis other countries, from the Indian point of view we expect him to actually conclude the bilateral investment treaty, although it started in 2009. This bilateral treaty would be a great, welcome change.
The other thing is a bilateral totalisation agreement between the US and India, which would eliminate dual social security taxation. We think Trump will have to sign this because it will benefit the working population of both countries. India has about 300,000 workers in the US and they contribute to social security taxes and they do not get any benefit at all. To avail social security benefits in the US, one has to stay for 10 years, but work visas in the US are provided for a maximum of six years.
What about Trump’s plans to reduce the number of H1-B temporary work visas?
If that happens, it would have an impact on the performance of Indian IT firms. They should not make it difficult because India has contributed so much to the technological world in the US.
Do you think Trump’s anti-outsourcing stance could impact US companies’ plans to invest in India?
The US has agreed to invest in aviation and defence manufacturing, with Boeing among those with plans to invest. At the same time, a number of Indian companies are going to set up in the US. In fact recently I’ve seen a few companies buying US companies in the aviation sector. Creation of jobs will happen by Indian companies in the US too. It will be a two-way process.
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Updated: December 10, 2016 04:00 AM