America Inc ramps up anti-India campaign, urges Barack Obama to tag it as 'Priority Foreign Country'

Feb 25 2014, 16:24 IST
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'India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property' (AP) 'India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property' (AP)
Summary'India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property'

Ramping up their anti-India campaign, an influential section of American businesses, in particular those from the pharma and manufacturing sectors, here on Monday urged the Obama Administration to designate India as a Priority Foreign Country.

A Priority Foreign Country is a status reserved for those nations that are the most egregious violators of IP rights and have the most negative impact on US competitiveness abroad.

These corporates have alleged that India's trade practices are discriminatory and have failed to adequately protect and enforce intellectual property (IP).

Experts say it would lead to a trade war between both the countries if India is designated as a priority foreign country under pressure from the US industry.

Representatives of more than half a dozen influential trade organisations appeared before an inter-agency governmental panel lead by the US Trade Representatives (USTR) on Monday.

Another 60 businesses and advocacy organisations wrote two separate letters to the USTR alleging that India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property.

These policies threaten manufacturing and jobs across the country, they said.

"In the past two years, the Indian government has demonstrated a pattern of behaviour that caused a rapid deterioration of the IP environment, making India an outlier in the international community," Jasper MacSlarrow, executive director of the Intellectual Property at the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) told the USTR panel which held a special hearing on its annual USTR Special 301 Report.

"Given the rapidly deteriorating climate in India, we urge USTR to designate India as a Priority Foreign Country in the 2014 Special 301 Report," MacSlarrow said.

"The simple reality is that over the last twelve months India has reached an inflection point both in terms of the egregiousness of its domestic policies and the belligerence of its international statements on IP protection. Its practices clearly reach the threshold for a Priority Foreign Country determination," said Brian Pomper from the Alliance for Fair Trade with India.

Herb Wamsley, executive director of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, alleged that India is systematically denying US companies the protection and opportunities afforded in its own industries, including with respect to IPR.

"These efforts not only threaten to diminish India's ability to innovate and attract investment, but they also unfairly disadvantage American businesses," he said.

"In India there are extreme delays in the handling of oppositions, cancellations and most court actions, all of which may permit infringements to continue without redress for lengthy periods

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