Rising protectionism in US is cause for concern, says Arun Jaitley

Finance minister Arun Jaitley has said that he is worried about rising protectionism in the United States because of the possibility of other countries following suit, he said in an exclusive interview to News18 Network.

The finance minister pointed out that opening up the economy has proven to be advantageous for India.

The Donald Trump administration has been toughening its stance on H-1B visas, which are used by foreign workers employed by technology companies in the US. Any change in H-1B visa policy could impact around 7 million Indians.

“Once this tendency picks up then all countries would try and play the same game and eventually we have seen from our Indian experience, integration in opening out has helped us,” Jaitley said.

The finance minister, who presented the Union Budget for 2018-19 on Thursday, said that today, India does not view a foreign investor as a detriment, but as someone who will bring in capital, which will in turn create jobs in India.

“Amongst the various things in the last two and a half decades that has helped the Indian economy is the fact that we have become more confident, we have become more open, we are open to investment,” Jaitley said.

The government recently approved 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in single brand retail. It also changed the FDI holding limit on Air India to allow foreign companies to buy up to 49 percent in the national carrier.

When asked whether India should consider replacing foreign internet companies like Google and Facebook, much like what China has done, the finance minister said that he didn’t know if India has reached that stage yet.

“I don’t know because we haven’t applied ourselves really to it. India has not been thinking on these lines,” Jaitley said.moneycontrol