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Hope Narendra Modi can make progress on H-1B, climate issues in US: China

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-06-2017 K.J.M. Varma

Beijing: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, Chinese official media said on Friday that any gains made by him in his talks on immigration and climate change with President Donald Trump will also benefit China.

“It will be interesting to see how Modi’s visit to the US will influence the two countries’ bilateral economic ties,” an article in the state-run Global Times said. “Chinese people will take a close look at the summit because some of the issues also concern China’s interests,” it said. “For instance, Trump is reforming US immigration policies, including the H-1B visa, a type of visa whose biggest and second-biggest recipients are India and China, respectively.” The H-1B visa programme is the most sought-after by Indian IT firms and professionals.

“The curb on H-1B visas is bad news not only for the Indian IT sector but also Chinese students studying in US universities. China will most likely be willing to express support for India’s stance over the H-1B visa, and hopefully the problem can get solved during Modi’s summit with Trump,” it said. Also, in the backdrop of Trump withdrawing from the Paris climate deal, any gains made by Modi on climate issues will benefit China, the article said. “The dispute over climate issues will perhaps continue to evolve during the upcoming (Modi-Trump) summit. Will Modi use the opportunity to pressure the US to undertake its obligations?,” it asked. China had announced its adherence to the Paris deal.

“Against this background, some key issues such as the H-1B visa programme and Paris agreement are likely to have a much greater impact on the whole picture of the bilateral ties, and thus the two countries may have more motivation to solve these problems. If the Modi-Trump meeting can make achievements in this regard, other countries like China are also expected to benefit from it,” the article said.

“China is glad to see India and the US strengthening their economic ties. However, New Delhi’s bargaining power in negotiations with Washington is limited, so it is unrealistic for Modi to totally change Trump’s attitude toward the H-1B visa and Paris agreement. China needs to have a clear anticipation of the summit and be prepared for any eventualities,” it said.

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