New Delhi, Jan 16, 2017: All five of the Indian-American lawmakers in US Congress have been nominated for key Congressional panels. All the Congressional panels are highly influential and powerful. The nominations with the other details of the Congresssmen and Congresswomen are as follows:
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Congressman RO Khanna
Representing: Silicon Valley
Nominated for: House Budget Committee
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
Nominated for: House Judiciary Committee
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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi
Representing: Chicago west and northwest suburbs
Nominated for: House Education, Workforce Committee, House Democratic Policy
and House Steering Committee
Congressman Ami Bera
Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans
Nominated for: House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Science, Space and
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Congresswoman Kamala Harris
First Indian-American to have been elected to the US Senate
Made member of four Senate Committees: Committee on Budget, Committee on Intelligence, Committee on Environment and Public Works,Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Harris also gave a statement, “These four committees will be key battlegrounds in the fight for the future of our country. At a time, when so many Californians and Americans are uncertain about our future, I will aggressively fight for our families and the ideals of our nation.”
Sampad Yadav, who sells electrical goods in a shop in the business hub of Gurugram on the outskirts of New Delhi, says Chinese goods such as LED lamps are popular with customers. “When people make a price comparison and want to move towards the cheapest goods, those are usually Chinese products.”
As in many other countries, Chinese products such as lamps, electronics, smartphones and engineering goods from the manufacturing giant have flooded Indian markets.
However, India has long fretted that areas in which it is strong such as generic drugs and Information Technology services, which make up some of its main exports to Western markets, remain shut out of China. That has made it difficult to bridge a ballooning trade deficit of about $50 billion between the two countries.
But there is optimism this could change following a meeting this week between the commerce ministers of the two countries in New Delhi.
“The Chinese side have agreed to work on the issue, prepare a roadmap to bring the trade to balanced level over a period of time,” Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said after discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Zhong Shan.
Trade experts hope the growing tensions on trade issues between the United States and China will prompt Beijing to open up its markets more to Indian exports. “I think China is definitely under pressure now, looking into the kind of initiation which has happened against China,” says Ajay Sahai, who heads the Federation of Indian Exports Organization.
The meeting between the Indian and Chinese commerce ministers this week came amid efforts to de-escalate tensions between the Asian neighbors following a period of rocky ties and a tense 70-day face-off between their troops in the Himalayas last year.
Despite a long-lingering boundary dispute and an often-fraught diplomatic relationship, trade ties between the Asian giants have gained significant momentum and China is now India’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2017 topped $80 billion rising by more than 20 percent over the previous year.
But worryingly for New Delhi, the trade deficit remains high despite a marginal growth in Indian exports – they add up to about $16 billion versus Chinese imports into India of about $68 billion.
India exports mainly raw materials like iron ore, copper and cotton yarn to China. “In whatever value-added exports where we are competitive, unfortunately, the market is not open for us,” says Sahai.
However, China has promised to give greater market access to Indian goods, particularly pharmaceuticals and agricultural goods such as rice, as well as service exports, according to the Indian commerce minister. “They have decided to work in a way that will address security issues from their side as well as introduce Indian companies to those who can buy these products in China,” says Prabhu.
New Delhi, which is trying to ramp up domestic manufacturing, is also urging China to manufacture more goods exported to India within the country.
Whether the promised actions translate into concrete outcomes remains to be seen. But exporters are hopeful. Sahai points out that China has invited Indian traders to what is being billed as the country’s first importers fair to be held in Shanghai later this year – it is being showcased as a measure to further open up China’s market.
The positive tenor of talks between the two countries comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports valued at $60 billion.
New Delhi could also face U.S. ire on trade issues – although its exports to the United States are comparatively small, it has a high trade deficit in its favor and Washington has often complained of protectionist barriers in India. In February, Trump called out India for imposing higher duties on Harley-Davidson motorcycles than the U.S. does on Indian motorbikes.
Amid growing fears that global trade faces uncertain times, analysts have called on countries like India to focus on increasing trade within the region.
India and China also said they will strengthen cooperation in the World Trade Organization and other multilateral and regional frameworks to maintain their common interests. VOA