US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo will arrive in India, on Tuesday. Amid growing strain in the economic relationship, he will meet his new counterpart External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on Wednesday. Jaishankar is expected to convey Delhi’s position on a host of issues.
Efforts will be put so that differences can be ironed out between India and the US. Pompeo will be in India from June 25 to 27.
His visit comes shortly after India announced a hike in customs duties on as many as 28 US products, including almond, pulses and walnut, in response to higher tariffs imposed by Washington on Indian products like steel and aluminium.
The move will hurt American exporters of these 28 items as they will have to pay higher duties, making those items costlier in the Indian market. The US had in March last year imposed 25 per cent tariff on steel and a 10 per cent import duty on aluminium products. Earlier, there was no duty on these goods.
As India is one of the major exporters of these items to the US, the move has revenue implication of about USD 240 million on domestic steel and aluminium products.
However, the US has said it has no plans to impose caps on the H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally, according to a state department official who said the Trump administration's review of worker visa programmes is "completely separate" from the ongoing discussions with India over the free flow of data.
The state department spokesperson's remarks came after reports emerged that the US had told India it was considering capping the H-1B visas at 10-15 per cent for countries that had a data localisation policy.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
It may be recalled that, while praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, two weeks ago Pompeo had said, “Modi hai toh mumkin hai”.
(With inputs from PTI)