International Trade Current Affairs - 2019

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India moves to WTO against US on temporary working visa issue

India has filed a complaint against the United States decision to impose high fees L-1 and H-1B categories of temporary working visas in the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

US had imposed fees on certain applicants for L-1 and H-1B categories of non-immigrant temporary working visas into the country,

According to India

  • US measure is inconsistent with the global norms and it would impact Indian IT professionals as it makes Indian IT companies less competitive in that market.
  • These measures appear to be “inconsistent” with the terms, limitations and conditions agreed under the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services).

Background

  • Earlier in 2015, US President Barack Obama had signed into law of spending package which had introduced a hefty $4,000 fee for certain categories of H-1B visa and $4,500 for L1 visa.
  • Under this law, companies having more than 50 employees and having more than 50 per cent of their US employees on H-1B and L1 visas were forced pay the new fee from April 1, 2016.
  • H-1B and L1 visas are temporary work visas for skilled IT professionals to work in US and India is the largest user of both H1B and L1 visas.

India losses solar case against US at WTO

India has lost solar case against United States at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for in breaching of international trade rules.

In this regard, WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) ruled that India’s domestic content requirement for National Solar Mission (NSM) discriminated against imported solar technology.

The DSB ruled that India domestic content requirement lacked domestic manufacturing capacity in solar cells and modules and there was risk of a disruption in imports.

What is the case?

United States had dragged India to WTO’s DSB in 2013 alleging that domestic content requirement on solar power developers discriminated against American and other imported solar technology.

Implications of this decision: US companies manufacturing solar equipments are looking NSM which has set an ambitious target of generating 20,000 Mega Watts (MW) solar power by 2022 as a big business potential.