India's trade practices harming US trade and jobs: Senators

Bilateral trade between India and US stood at USD 60 billion last year.

Washington: Two influential Senators on Saturday asked Secretary of State John Kerry to raise serious concerns of the US over "unfair" trade practices of India that are "directly harming" American businesses and threatening "millions of US jobs", during his visit to New Delhi next week.

The Senators made it clear that the US cannot afford to sit back and watch as India adopts policies that adversely impact its innovative and creative industries, threatening the greater stability of the international trading system. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch urged India to end unfair practices.

"We have serious concerns about policies adopted by the Government of India that shut out US-made innovative products and transfer US intellectual property to its domestic industry. These policies are directly harming US businesses and threaten the millions of US jobs supported by trade in innovative products," the two Senators wrote in a letter to Kerry.

Baucus and Hatch specifically identified serious problems with India's treatment and enforcement of intellectual property rights, as well as policies that effectively block US-made information and communications technology.

"India is ignoring evidence from its own recent positive economic experience and is lapsing once again into protectionism," they said.

"We regret that the Indian government is pursuing this short-sighted approach to development, and is creating an economic environment that is hostile to the very inputs and investment that would actually strengthen its infrastructure, security and advance the development of its local high-tech, innovative manufacturing and services base," the Senators wrote.

"More fundamentally, we cannot accept the adverse impact of these measures on US innovative companies and the jobs they support. US innovative companies are losing major market opportunities in India, and other countries are watching to see how the US reacts to India's actions as they consider the adoption of similar policies," Baucus and Hatch said.

Requesting Kerry to communicate their concerns, the two Senators said India is a huge and important player in the global trading system, and the US would like to have a collaborative, mutually-beneficial economic relationship with it.

Bilateral trade between India and US stood at USD 60 billion last year.

"But the United States and India trade and investment relationship is imperilled so long as India refuses to afford adequate protection of US intellectual property and full market access to US-made innovative products," they said.