Economic Times: US Chamber seeks improvement in IP protection in India

Economic Times: US Chamber seeks improvement in IP protection in India
January 9, 2014

WASHINGTON: As Corporate America increasingly looks overseas to expand its business and remove hurdles in foreign countries, the US Chamber of Commerce has called for better intellectual property protection in India.

“We’re pursuing bilateral investment treaties with China and other countries, as well as much-needed improvements in intellectual property protections, especially in India,” Thomas J Donohue, President and CEO of the US Chamber, said in his annual State of American Business address yesterday.

In July, more than 40 US business organisations under the banner of the Alliance for Fair Trade expressed concern over India’s trade and intellectual property protection policies.

They alleged that in the manufacturing, agriculture, telecommunications, biopharmaceutical, solar energy, semiconductor and other sectors, companies face measures that are discriminatory, unfair, and/or inconsistent with international norms.

The Indian government has strongly defended its policies and denied allegations of not providing a level playing field to US businesses.

Donohue said that with overall growth in 2013 expected at between 1.8 per cent and 2 per cent and at almost 3 per cent this year, the US economy also gains from continued strength in domestic energy production and improvements in trade.

“We’ve got a great opportunity this year to spur jobs and growth by expanding international trade and investment,” he said, adding that the World Trade Organization is standing tall again following the landmark trade facilitation accord.

Donohue said it is time to quickly pass the Trade Promotion Authority, which allows Congress to set negotiating objectives for new trade pacts. The executive branch would be required to consult with Congress, which has the final say on any trade agreement, he said.

“The Chamber will also lead the business community’s efforts in support of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the EU. We’re also working on a Trade in Services Agreement and an expansion of WTO’s Information Technology Agreement,” the American corporate leader said.

“With 20 years of NAFTA success under our belt, it’s time to move the North American partnership to a higher level — working together to develop energy, attract manufacturing, and build a competitive position in the world that is second to none,” Donohue said.

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