Politico Pro: Obama Faces Heavy Lift to Improve India Trade Relations

Politico Pro: Obama faces heavy lift to improve India trade relations
September 17, 2013
By: Eric Bradner

Supermarkets want full ownership of their stores. Drug-makers want their patents respected. Manufacturers want to compete with home-grown companies for government contacts.

And until those things are possible, none of those American businesses will make major moves into India’s market — despite its growing middle class and its status as the world’s largest democracy, former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky warned Tuesday at a meeting of trade policy wonks.

Her comments underscore the challenges facing President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as they prepare to sit down to talk economic issues on Sept. 27, in Washington.

Barshefsky, who was President Bill Clinton’s second-term trade representative, identified three key policy areas that India must reform in order to improve trade relations with the United States: an economic slowdown that has diminished the value of India’s currency; a set of “vexing regulations and a very challenging rules system” that businesses struggle to navigate; and market access barriers that include tariffs, “buy local” requirements and lax intellectual property protections…

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