Ever since, US President Obama vowed to punish U.S. “corporations that ship our jobs overseas,” the backlash in India against such a disastrous move has spread to officials from government, IT industry associations, and leading Indian IT services companies such as Infosys and Wipro. And while they say they want to wait for more details, they are also clearly deeply concerned about the huge implications such policy would have.
While today’s highly interdependent global economy renders Obama’s 19th-century notion of “our jobs” meaningless, the bigger issues are the impact such a move would have on the overall Indian economy’s ability to continue being a major consumer of U.S.-made products and services, and the likelihood that other countries would react to Obama’s protectionist stance with their own equally unproductive and trade-reducing positions.
Volume of concern from India
According to the sources US President Barack Obama’s statements on curbing tax breaks for outsourcing companies in the US set alarm bells ringing in the Indian IT sector.
Nasscom president Som Mittal, noting that American companies generate 50% of their revenue outside the U.S., said, “To be globally competitive, they also depend on globally shared services.” The body also said that any protectionist move by the US that adversely impacts the domestic outsourcing industry might trigger retaliatory measures by India.
Infosys in a statement said, “We are confident that the US will not take any measure which might hurt its global competitiveness and policies of protectionism would only hinder the revival of the world economy.”
Impact on the US
Obama’s tax proposals on the foreign investments made by American companies, if accepted by Congress, could affect their global competitiveness and would leave them at significant disadvantages against non-US companies. The report said while there are no direct proposals that impact off-shoring to India, the US corporations having business presence abroad could be saddled with increased tax cost if these proposals are enacted.
As per US government’s estimate, Obama’s proposals will generate $210 billion in revenue over 10 years. The new tax proposals also seek to tighten the foreign credit rules. It proposes to disallow foreign taxes paid on income, which is not subject to US tax. This may lead to double taxation and discourage US companies to invest overseas.
The Evasive Measures
US protectionism forces TCS to hire more foreigners: Seeking to mitigate protectionist measures like visa restrictions being adopted by countries like US, the top Indian IT exporter, TCS, is looking to employ more local nationals in key markets.
NASSCOM to meet FM for pre-budget consultations: The members of NASSCOM will meet Finance Minister to put forward their demands for the sector.
Outsourcing companies take cost-cut call: Indias $47 billion IT outsourcing industry, struggling to cut costs without compromising on seat capacity, is now reinventing the wheel. Some of them have stitched up deals with telecom companies, outsourcing their own communication infrastructure, a model now known as hosting services.