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Protectionist measures to hurt US economy: Nasscom
BS Reporter in Mumbai
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March 12, 2009 10:23 IST

Protectionist measures such as the 'Buy America' clause and the H-1B legislation suggested by the US government will not have any impact on India's IT-BPO industry, says Nasscom, adding that, in fact, the measures will hurt the US economy.

Nasscom representatives, on their recent visit to the US, met a large cross-section of stakeholders � the US administration, elected representatives of the Congress, various associations, US headquartered companies and customer companies as well.

The industry body also said that protectionist policies would only delay the recovery of the US from the ongoing recession. Nasscom also pointed out that with more countries affected by the slowdown, such protectionism would trigger similar protectionist measures.

The US has been under tremendous pressure to protect local jobs as the unemployment rate looks to breach the 10 per cent mark. Unemployment in the US surged to 8.1 per cent in February, the highest in 25 years.

The Nasscom delegation met US Senator Chuck Grassley, apart from other senators and Congressmen.

The delegation also expressed interest to work with Grassley on the H-1B visa issue and ensure that while Nasscom would apprehend and stop any fraudulent use of H-1B visas, legitimate business users would not get affected.

In its current form the amendment to H-1B visa legislation seem to isolate and unfairly target Indian IT companies and severely restrict the level playing field. Contrary to popular belief of Indian companies taking majority of H-1B visas, the Indian IT industry constituted only 11 per cent of the total visas issued in 2008.

The H1-B visas are used for providing technically qualified talent, open new markets, accelerate innovation and increase competitiveness.

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