India Inc to defend domestic trade policy at US trade body hearing

Feb 14 2014, 11:29 IST
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SummaryUSITC, which began hearing on impact of India’s trade policies on US industries and jobs, has already heard American lobby groups.

Industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is set to depose before the US International Trade Commission (USITC) on Friday to defend India’s policies, which are facing criticism from American industry lobbies.

The USITC, which began hearing on the impact of India’s trade policies on the US industries and jobs, has already heard American lobby groups including the country’s chambers of commerce, and Alliance for Fair Trade on Wednesday. Deposing before the commission, US India Business Council (USIBC) president Ron Somers has cautioned the US to avoid unnecessary steps that would threaten the US-India relationship, while former Nasscom chairman Jerry Rao has said US President Barack Obama should care about creating jobs in both Bangalore and Buffalo and not only the latter.

The USITC is a quasi-judicial federal agency that provides trade policy advice to both the legislative and executive branches of government. Though it can’t take action, its reports form the basis of US trade policy. The hearing comes at a time when India is already facing challenges from the US authorities including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

While the FAA has downgraded the Indian aviation sector, citing a lack of safety oversight, the USFDA has taken a series of actions against Indian pharmaceutical firms including banning Ranbaxy’s fourth plant from selling drugs to the US market. USTR meanwhile has dragged India to the WTO over its local content requirement condition for its National Solar Mission programme.

Reacting to the developments, India Inc said that the US should undertake a “soul-searching exercise” and relax its policies with regards to services and financial sector to give better market access to India.

Trade policy experts have also slammed the development. “The US is hell bent on finding large markets across the globe. It is a very well thought-out programme they have put in place. They want to pry open the market. The US itself has put in place protectionist policies in name of industrial revival. This is clearly a one-way traffic and India needs to showcase their double standards,” Biswajit Dhar, director general, Research and Information System, said.

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