The ministry of external affairs (MEA) has suggested allowing the free import of American chicken legs in return for the US government allowing shipments of Indian basmati rice, pomegranate and table grapes and immigration reforms that will help Indian IT professionals.
The Indian government and its agencies have maintained restrictions on US poultry, while Washington has refer its domestic regulations to block several Indian fruits, including pomegranates and table grapes and has refused to remove the restrictions despite talks for several years.
MEA has held elementary discussions with various ministries on close to a dozen issues where a “give and take” can lead to possible announcements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in six weeks. But, they were quick to add that no position has been finalized and termed the exercise as a “brainstorming session”- said the sources
During the elementary discussions, the foreign office has suggested that India take up six issues, including a high-technology corridor with enhanced connectivity to ports. Officials said there are two port connectivity projects that are being studied, including a link between Pipavav port in Gujarat with Sanand near Ahmedabad that is expected to be the new auto hub. The two are on the Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor map as well. Alternatively, an upgradation of the Chennai port may be taken up as there are economic corridors planned in the South as well. Further, American companies and funding may be sought for building short-distance freight corridors.
Apart from the discussion on infrastructure the government also wants a better deal for Indian IT companies and software professionals. Although the US has refused to move, the government wants the Obama administration to portray the role that Indian tech firms have played in US competitiveness. Similarly, it wants a dialogue on signing a Totalization Agreement that will allow thousands of Indian professionals going on offsite work to claim their social security contributions.
The third element of the internal discussions by MEA dealt with getting the US authorities to drop India from the list of priority watch countries for its perceived weak intellectual property rights (IPR) regime under the Super 301 report. In return, the ministry suggested that India could amend some of the provisions of the National Manufacturing Policy.