US VISA FEE HIKE HAS POTENTIAL TO ACT AS BARRIER
The US visa-fee hike issue remained a major point of discussion during the India-US Innovation forum that began here last week, with Commerce & Industries Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pointing out to the concerns raised by some stakeholders that the decision has potential to act as a barrier to the movement of natural persons and professionals. “The concerns of our government in this regard have been conveyed in the past and we hope that specific measures like these, having the potential to adversely impact our trade are avoided,” she said. India has, however, asked the US to find a ‘just and non-discriminatory’ solution to avoid any adverse effect on bilateral trade ties, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Nirmala Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj were the co-chairs of the dialogue with US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. India-US bilateral trade stood at US$ 109 billion last year, and India has received US$ 17.94 billion FDI from the US between April 2000 and March 2016. Top Indian corporate heads like Cyrus Mistry, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Deepak Parekh, K M Birla, among others, were present at the meeting.