INTERNATIONAL

Business Council criticises “chop-shop” remark

The United States-India Business Council has issued a statement of searing criticism against a Senator who described Indian IT major Infosys as a “chop-shop.” Ron Somers, head of the USIBC, said: “It is totally outrageous in this day in this age, when the world is so interconnected by the Internet, that draconian measures would be floated by the U.S. Congress that tar-brushes Indian companies as ‘chop shops'.”

In a reference to the bill sponsored by Senator Charles Schumer last week, Mr. Somers said the legislation sought to raise revenue for broader border security by taxing mostly Indian companies that were investing heavily in the U.S. The bill will be financed through a visa fee hike of $2,000 to $2,500 for firms having a higher proportion of non-American workers.

Mr. Somers added that it was unfortunate that the Congress passed a bill that not only linked India to border security with Mexico, but also did not take into account the “terrible economic impact” this would have for the U.S.

Even as the bill passed in the House of Representatives this week, the USIBC pressed for amendments to its objectionable clauses. Mr. Somers said: “We urge the Congress and the Obama Administration to amend this new funding method for border security and any policies that would harm America's economic interest and undermine the burgeoning economic, trade and strategic relationship with India.”

Earlier the bill was attacked by Indian industry associations too such as the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). Its president, Som Mittal, said: “The money to pay for this increase would come primarily from raising fees on H-1B and L-1 visas for highly skilled workers. While we understand the need for heightened border security, we believe that the extra fees will produce negative consequences for both U.S. and Indian companies.”

Reports also quoted Mr. Somers calling for a review of the bill's financing, saying, “Cutting our nose off to spite our face by imposing restrictions on movement of high-tech professionals will hobble American companies' ability to compete in the global marketplace. The funding methods in the Bill now before the U.S. Congress are misdirected in this regard.” He added that the USIBC hoped amendments would excise these harmful provisions.

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