Trump and U.S. Tech Companies Court Modi on U.S. Visit

Anubhav Gupta on “Bloomberg Technology”

On June 26, 2017, Asia Society Policy Institute Assistant Director Anubhav Gupta spoke on “Bloomberg Technology” about the first meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, as well as Mr. Modi’s business roundtable with CEOs of twenty major American companies.

Gupta described the bilateral meeting as a first date where Trump and Modi “really want to impress each other.” The two countries can be strong partners because there are “a lot of win-win issues,” however, the challenge is on the commercial front, “where there are real differences” despite huge potential for growth. "Current trade between the U.S. and India lies at $115 billion," Gupta explained, "but many experts believe that there is potential for that to be at $500 billion."

Executives of major U.S. tech companies, such as Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, met with Modi at a business roundtable on Sunday, June 25. Highlighting why the tech sector’s leaders were lining up to see the Indian prime minister, Gupta asserted that, "India is a major market, it has a huge and growing middle class that is going to be spending a lot of money, and these companies want a part of the pie.” 

Regarding potential changes to the U.S. H-1B worker visa program, a concern for India as well as U.S. tech companies, Gupta clarified that President Trump’s “Hire American” executive order only asks for a review of worker visa programs. This means that, at the moment, no changes are imminent, especially because the U.S. Congress will also play a role. For this reason, Gupta said we can expect there to be intense “lobbying happening from Indian companies, from U.S. companies, especially in the tech sector, as well as the Indian government to both the administration, but Congress as well.” (4 min., 40 sec.)
 

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