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India, US must exchange wish lists to iron out issues: IACC

With Donald Trump set to take charge as the next US President, the Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) has suggested that India and the US should exchange their individual wish lists to fast track resolution of bilateral issues which are impeding accelerated investment flow. Broad contours of the wish lists should include amicable settlement of IPR issues leading to earliest conclusion of a bilateral investment treaty (BIT), totalisation agreement, a sound legal framework to expeditiously settle disputes, settlement of issues emanating from non-tariff measures and importantly, a fast solution to nagging visa problems, the Chamber said.

Said Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) National President N V Srinivasan that there is a growing realisation among the US corporations that India, lying mid-way between West and the East, has the potential to emerge as a gateway for serving both markets. Here, it may be noted that US President-elect Trump has made it clear that he is averse to regional trade agreements like NAFTA, emerging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) etc which, according to him, have been militated against the US interests.

Flagging contentious issues that are coming up in the bilateral economic negotiations, such as retrospective tax regime in India, tardy intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and their enforcement, insistence on deciding economic disputes under Indian laws etc, the IACC President said these issues can be settled in a spirit of 'give and take'. Another area that needs immediate attention is the earliest conclusion of the double taxation avoidance treaty on social security taxes, often referred to as Totalisation Agreement, to avoid double taxation of social security both in the home country and the country where an employee works. Currently, temporary migrant Indian workers in the US have to make dual payment of social security contributions, both at home and in the US. India has around 3 lakh workers in the US at any given point of time, contributing over $2 billion every year towards social security taxes without getting any benefits.

To avail social security benefits in the US, one has to stay there for over 10 years, but work visas in that country are generally provided for a maximum of 6 years. Over the years, nearly $25 billion have been lost by India, IACC said.

 
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