Inside U.S. Trade: Business coalition tells Lighthizer to tackle market access, IP issues with India

The Alliance for Fair Trade with India wants the Trump administration to knock down market access barriers India has erected, focusing on price controls, localization requirements, standards issues and intellectual property in a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer ahead of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum and Commercial Dialogue.

AFTI states that “due to a lack of leverage vis-à-vis India, concrete and lasting policy changes to address a series of longstanding issues remain elusive, and U.S. companies in a variety of industries have seen the emergence of new and highly troubling issues that are directly impacting high-value sectors.”

The U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum is set for Oct. 26, with Lighthizer helming the U.S. side. A bilateral commercial dialogue will be held Oct. 27, led on the U.S. side by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The coalition of business groups echoed complaints over price controls on medical devices recently raised by AdvaMed, one of its members, in a petition to withdraw India’s Generalized System of Preferences benefits.

“These actions imposed drastic price cuts on innovative U.S. products but also barred manufacturers from leaving the market when the price cuts forced them to sell products at a loss,” AFTI states in its letter.

India is also forging ahead with localization policies that undermine market access for U.S. industries in “high-value innovative industries,” it continues.

The letter also calls out India for product and labeling standards in a range of industries that create market access barriers.

On IP issues, the business group coalition referred to its February Special 301 submission, in which it charged that India’s new National Intellectual Property Rights Policy was too vague and forced IP transfer policies were growing in India – and that New Delhi had not followed through on pledges made in previous dialogues.