Article by Mark Levey, Senior Researcher and Rami
Fakhouri, Senior Editor
On August 6, the Governor of Ohio issued an
Executive Order prohibiting the use of State funds for offshore
services. This is the first such assertion by a State, and it comes
just weeks after the U.S. passed national legislation that sharply
increases H-1B and L-1 visa fees, a move that was perceived as
discriminatory against the Indian outsourcing industry.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland defended his order to ban offshoring of
state government work. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk,
Strickland said that, “Indian officials have admitted they do
not have a case in the World Trade Organization because my
Executive Order does not violate any trade agreement with
India's commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma, in
Washington on talks with U.S. trade officials called the move by
Ohio, “ill-advised”, according to the Press Trust of
India, an Indian news agency.
While the WTO GATT Agreement on Governmental Procurement
generally bars discriminatory treatment by governmental entities of
signatory nations1, the U.S. accession to the AGP
maintains total exceptions to that commitment for at least 12
States, including Ohio, and allows partial discrimination in state
contracting for a number of others.2
News of the Governor's Order, and comments by Indian trade
officials and groups, have fanned smoldering expressions of
opposition to H-1B workers in the American political net-roots into
an expression of outrage against outsourcing.
This focusing of public attention upon trade and immigration
issues is ill-timed, coming as it does in the weeks leading up to
an American mid-term election in which high unemployment and a
stalled economic recovery are the central political issues.
1. See, WTO GATTS, Agreement on Governmental Procurement,
; see, related, http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/legal_e.htm.
2. See, Annex 2 of the US Agreement, http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/gproc_e/appendices_…,
Click: United States, Annex 2.
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