Economic Times: Barack Obama asked to address India’s discriminatory trade practices

Economic Times: Barack Obama asked to address India’s discriminatory trade practices
September 26, 2013

WASHINGTON: Hours before the arrival of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here, as many as 18 influential American groups asked President Barack Obama to address India’s alleged discriminatory trade practices when he meets the Indian leader at the White House.

“India’s discriminatory trade policies put American businesses at a disadvantage, place manufacturing jobs at risk, and jeopardize India’s ability to grow its economy,” said Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI) co-chair and National Association of Manufacturers vice president of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey.

“The business community, elected officials, and the administration are united in their concern with these protectionist policies. We urge President Obama to seek immediate and concrete solutions that can lead to growth in the American and Indian economies alike,” she said.

In the letter sent to Obama today, the organisations highlighted the alleged harmful trade policies of India which include a failure to protect IP rights, forced local production of certain information technology and clean energy equipment, and revocations of patents and compulsory licenses for innovative medicines.

These unfair policies are designed to benefit a few Indian corporations at the expense of manufacturing and jobs in the United States and other countries around the world, they said in the letter.

“In the last 18 months, India has consistently failed to recognise international intellectual property rights, hindering India’s path to an innovative and knowledge-based economy,” said Mark Elliot, co-chair of AFTI and executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Centre.

“During his meeting with Prime Minister Singh, President Obama has the opportunity to promote a trade environment that fosters innovation and creativity, creates high-quality jobs, and advances global economic development,” he said.

The letter to Obama by 18 business organisations adds to the growing anti-India campaign here.

This week, a bipartisan group of governors highlighted the impact India’s unfair trade practices have on jobs in states across the US in a letter to Obama.

Additionally, more than 170 US Representatives and 40 Senators expressed concern over the trade environment in India that puts American jobs and industries at risk in letters to the administration earlier this year.

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