US trade group lobbies for free entry of Indian techies

Washington, June 7 (IANS) With an eye on India's vast market, a leading US trade group has engaged two powerful firms to lobby for changes in the proposed comprehensive immigration reform bill to attract skilled technical professionals from India.

The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has retained top lobby firm Patton Boggs for lobbying at the scale of the US-India civil nuclear advocacy effort, augmented by a public relations campaign to be spearheaded by APCO Worldwide.

Two former US ambassadors to India, Frank Wisner and Tim Roemer, will lead the effort at Patton Boggs and APCO respectively.

"USIBC supports the free movement of technical professionals. This freedom of movement is essential to US job creation, and is at the heart of our future economic prosperity," said USIBC President Ron Somers.

"USIBC endorses immigration reform, but the legislation as currently written restricts a company's ability to source skilled talent, which hamstrings American competitiveness," Somers added.

Meanwhile, USIBC also announced the establishment of the Coalition for Jobs and Growth to help ensure that American businesses of all types have access to the international expertise they need to continue to drive forward economic growth and job creation.

"The USIBC-led Coalition for Jobs and Growth believes that an open American economy helps give the United States the influence it needs to ensure that other economies stay open as well," it said in a media release.

"India's vast market can only be encouraged to open to global trade, facilitating greater American exports and investment, setting the standard for the protection of intellectual property, if the American market maintains highest standards and remains reciprocally open," it said.

As the US economy recovers, the US is relying on high technology requiring skilled professionals to drive efficiencies and spur growth, USIBC said.

"Until the US can produce sufficient numbers of skilled professionals domestically, talent must be sourced from around the globe so US firms can outpace global competition," it said.

The Coalition's members are drawn from the nearly 400 businesses, trade associations and public policy members of the USIBC.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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