India might be America’s next big trade problem

By: , The Business Journals

We’re used to U.S. manufacturers complaining about China’s trade practices; now companies are upset with India as well.

That’s the word from the National Association of Manufacturers, which contends the Indian government is implementing an industrial policy that discriminate against foreign companies in hopes of creating more manufacturing jobs in that country. India is pursuing that policy in various ways, such as revoking or denying patents for foreign companies and imposing domestic content requirements in industries ranging from clean energy to medical devices, said Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at NAM.

India is America’s 11th-largest trading partner, and U.S. manufacturers expected lots of export opportunities there when the country adopted economic reforms in the 1990s, she said.

But over the past year, there has been “very much a reversal in that course,” Dempsey said.

A wide range of manufacturers have raised concerns about India’s new policies with NAM.

“It’s one of those issues we’re hearing about every day,” she said.

“This type of approach by India cannot continue.”

NAM wants top officials in President Barack Obama‘s administration to talk with their counterparts in the Indian government and persuade them that “this path forward is not the way to grow one’s economy,” Dempsey said.

If India continues down this path, NAM is concerned that other countries may follow India’s lead.