India asks for more H-1B visas, U.S. noncommital

U.S Trade Representative Ron Kirk met with Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma for the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting in India. One of India`s top agenda items was to get more H-1B visas, but all they got was lip service.

This is what Kirk had to say about the meeting:

Remarks of United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk at the Trade Policy Forum Press Conference

Let me begin once again by expressing my gratitude on behalf of our entire United States delegation to Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma, and Commerce Secretary Khullar for their extraordinary hospitality in helping to host and welcome us for what has been a wonderfully productive sixth U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum.

So, India gave our trade representatives the Taj Motel red carpet service. Kirk`s statement was the typical boilerplate that follows international meetings. By “productive” Kirk probably means that they didn`t throw spicy curry in each others face.

According to India`s Economic Times:

On the issue of a more liberal visa regime for Indian professionals, the US assured India that it would take up the issue with the US immigration department and see what changes could be made. “We have made a note of India’s concerns and are going to certainly discuss it with our colleagues (in the immigration department),” Mr Kirk said.

Kirk is giving them a skillful bureaucratic answer that commits the U.S. to nothing. The Indians probably didn`t realize that there is no “immigration department” in the U.S., although we do have the USCIS. Of course the only ones that can actually do anything about immigration are our Congress, which Kirk forgot to mention (tsk! tsk!). Hopefully the Indians don`t figure this out before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits the US next month (don`t worry — none of those guys read my writings). LOL!

From the sounds of things, there wasn`t as much cooperation as everyone is claiming:

�In the much talked about example, we open up our agricultural market to Indian mangos. These freely flow into our country. In return, we had hoped to export pistachios, which are very strong staple of your diet, not grown domestically and high-end motorcycles. Today, not one Harley Davidson motorcycle has been sold in India,’ he added.

Here is a family of 5 on Motorcycle in India that could use a Harley. There is no shortage of superbikes in India, just not any from the U.S. So much for free trade!

The mango controversy never seems to die. First it was mangos for nukes and H-1Bs, now it`s mangos for pistachios and motorcycles. In my opinion that`s a very big improvement! If you don`t know what I`m talking about then you probably haven`t seen my world renowned video: “Mangos that Glow in the Dark”.