NAM: Manufacturers Disappointed in Lack of Concrete Progress in U.S.-India Dialogue

By: Linda Dempsey, Vice President of International Economic Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers

The United States and India have much to gain by growing their commercial relationship given the relatively low-levels of trade and investment that characterize a relationship that many agree is underperforming. This year’s second Strategic & Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) was an opportunity to move beyond the improved dialogue that has characterized the U.S.-India relationship since Prime Minister Modi took office more than two years ago and into concrete action.

Unfortunately, the just-released U.S.-India Joint Statement marking the conclusion of this year’s dialogue has little to cheer. The NAM and others had urged the two governments to use dialogue to drive concrete deliverables. Yet this dialogue’s “outcomes,” if they can be so labeled, are heavy on cooperation, collaboration and further discussions, but no concrete movement on issues that matter to a wide swath of manufacturers in the United States. There was, for instance, no renunciation by India of its WTO-violative actions, such as increased information technology tariffs and discriminatory localization measures on solar energy and other manufactured goods. There were no concrete deliverables announced on the protection of intellectual property and little substance on innovation. And while India has moved up on the Innovation Index, India still is in the bottom half of the rankings, behind its key Asian competitors.

As the United States prepares for its next major dialogue with India – the Trade Policy Forum – in October, manufacturers urge outcomes that will make a tangible difference for their ability to do business with India.