'Indian actions discriminating against US exports and sales'
Washington: Alleging that India's "unfair trade practices" are harming US industries and exports, Aemrican lawmakers and business groups have asked the Obama Administration to raise their concerns with New Delhi.
"Today, we are calling on the Obama administration to raise concerns immediately at the highest levels of the Indian government and to press for real results," Linda Dempsey, vice president, International Economic affairs for National Association of Manufacturers told reporters during a conference call.
Announcing the launch of Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI), Dempsey said the India visit of Secretary of State John Kerry next week is a critical opportunity to take this action.
"AFTI members want a level playing field and a fair shake in India. We want India to end its unfair trade practices and to make sure those trade practices are not repeated in the future, she said.
"We hope and expect the Indian government will respond positively and will work constructively with the business community to address these concerns," she said.
"But if India does not act quickly to comply with its international obligations, we believe that all trade and diplomatic options must be on the table. To have the kind of strategic partnership we all want, India must play by the rules," Dempsey said.
Expressing deep concern over the growing trade imbalance between the US and India, the group of 170 Congressmen in a letter to the US President Barack Obama said that they believe this is due in no small part to policies by the Government of India to favour domestic producers over US exporters.
"Over the last year, Indian policymakers and courts have taken a series of actions designed to block imports by forcing local production of a wide range of manufactured goods.
"For example, the Indian Government recently demanded that as much as 100 percent of its market for certain information technology and clean energy equipment must be satisfied by firms based domestically," the lawmakers said in their letter, a copy of which was released to the press.
"Indian policies are harming an array of US and Minnesotan industries including high-tech, agriculture, and bio-pharmaceuticals," said Congressman Erik Paulsen, member of the House Ways and Means Committee, who led the lawmakers in this signature campaign.
"The Government of India is needlessly invalidating US patents, putting up burdensome barriers to US-made products, and creating forced localisation requirements for IP-intensive manufacturing - jeopardising jobs and innovation here at home," Paulson said.
"The Administration should make this issue a top priority at the upcoming US-India Strategic Dialogue to address the deteriorating trade and investment climate in India which is jeopardising US jobs and innovation," Paulsen said.
In the letter, lawmaker said the intellectual property (IP) climate has become increasingly challenging in India, adding that the US companies have suffered from a whole host of IP issues in areas including information technology, renewable energy, and bio-pharmaceuticals.
Noting that India is a thought leader among emerging countries, and others have already begun emulating India's IP policies, the Congressmen said the US Government must send a strong signal to the Indian Government that these actions are inconsistent with India's international obligations, set a bad precedent, and undermine the culture of innovation that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself has been promoting.
"India is a highly-valued strategic partner and we support strong, continued growth in the trade and investment relationship.
In an effort to continue this positive trajectory, the Indian Government should consider constructive ways to address the deteriorating trade and investment climate in India," the letter said.