Business Journal: Business Groups Ask Obama To Get Tough With India Over Unfair Trade Practices

Business Journal: Business Groups Ask Obama To Get Tough With India Over Unfair Trade Practices
June 18, 2013
By Kent Hoover

Fourteen business groups have joined forces to form the Alliance for Fair Trade with India in response to Indian policies that discriminate against U.S. exporters in favor of home-grown businesses.

They want President Barack Obama’s administration to raise their concerns with top Indian government officials immediately, starting with Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to India this month.

If India doesn’t address these concerns, “we believe that all trade and diplomatic options must be on the table,” said Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs for the National Association of Manufacturers.

“This is is an issue that has gone on far too long,” Dempsey said.

U.S. officials must make it clear to India that “these actions have to stop now,” she said.

India had been a growing destination for U.S. exports, but over the past year to 18 months, India has adopted policies favoring its own businesses in industries such as clean energy, information technology and medical devices. It has imposed tariffs and local content requirements, and denied and revoked patents, she said.

“India is an international outlier,” said Mark Elliot, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center.

It’s worse than Brazil, China and Russia in enforcing patents, copyrights and trademarks, he said. This failure to protect intellectual property rights is leading businesses to think twice about investing there, he said.

NAM had been an early leader on this issue, raising its concerns about India in May. It teamed up with other business groups to form the new alliance because “now is the time to get tougher” with India, Dempsey said.

“By joining our voices together, we can explain better to our own government, and frankly, the Indian government, on how to move this forward.”