The Indian Express: Raise India’s “discriminatory policy” with Singh, US body to President Barack Obama

The Indian Express: Raise India’s “discriminatory policy” with Singh, US body to President Barack Obama
September 26, 2013

A US group has asked President Barack Obama to raise issues of “discriminatory policies” by India in the fields of communications technology, clean energy

and intellectual property rights in his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday.

“We are looking very strongly to the meeting that President Obama and Prime Minister Singh have tomorrow. We have asked President Obama to raise these concerns so that there is a level-playing field with India,” Linda Dempsey, Co-Chair of the Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI), said.

“Through discriminatory industrial policies and a consistent failure to protect intellectual property rights, it is forcing local production of everything from IT and clean energy equipment to medicines and medical devices,” an AFTI release said.

US companies are increasingly not feeling secure, she said, adding that there is an unstable environment on power generation, communication technology equipment and intellectual property rights, she added.

Prime Minister Singh and President Obama will meet in Washington on Friday to chart a course for “future cooperation” in areas like civil nuclear technology, trade, investment, defence and counter-terrorism, amid perceptions that bilateral strategic ties have plateaued.

Earlier in February this year, the US had dragged India to the World Trade Organisation challenging New Delhi’s restrictions on US solar exports, in particular those provisions concerning domestic content requirements in India’s national solar programme.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) had alleged that India’s programme appeared to discriminate against US solar equipment by requiring solar energy producers to use Indian-manufactured solar cells and modules and by offering subsidies to those developers for using domestic equipment, instead of imports.

According to AFTI website, administrative and court rulings in India have ignored internationally recognised rights by imposing restrictions on medical devices and denying or revoking patents.

US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center Executive Vice President Mark Elliott emphasised that protection of intellectual property rights was essential to promoting trade with India. “We need to see action from India to reverse discriminatory policies,” Elliott added.

During the meeting at the Oval Office in the White House, Singh is expected to flag India’s concerns over the proposed changes in US visa norms which would affect the

highly-skilled IT professionals from India.

Dismissing India’s concerns, Linda, however, said: “Our markets are much more open”, Trade relationship has faltered because of the policies of the Indian Government, she added.

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