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'US experiencing real frustration in trade ties with India'

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 09:07

Washington: The US is experiencing real "frustration" when it comes to some of the trade and business economic relationship with India, a top Obama administration official told American Senators Tuesday.

"We have a huge and vibrant trading relationship with India. It has the potential to really create new opportunities for us. But there are some very real frustrations that you've pointed to," Demetrios Marantis, the acting US Trade Representative, told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.

"On poultry, for example, we have brought a WTO dispute against India, challenging their poultry ban... We have deep concerns over a deterioration in the innovation climate in India... As well as market access policies that are affecting electronics," Marantis said in response to a question from Senator Thomas Carper, at a hearing organised by the Senate Finance Committee on the President's 2013 Trade Agenda.

"I was in India in December and raised these issues very clearly with our counterparts, and we hope to work very closely with them to grow and develop the relationship and address the irritants that are unfortunately rising," the US official said.

Carper in his remarks expressed concern with the restricted trade practices that, particularly poultry and other products face in India, which he argued remove opportunities for market to access in a growing economy.

"For instance, the non-scientifically based policies that don't conform to World Organisation for Animal Health standards have shut out the US poultry industry. Additional, US biopharmaceutical industry has had several patents disregarded, just disregarded, due to inappropriate use of compulsory licensing and patent revocation," he said.

Senator Chuck Grassley alleged that India is following the Chinese footsteps in what he said was the discriminatory practices of local content requirements.

"India is attempting to implement such a requirement on some technology firms. Many of these countries, including India and Brazil, receive preferential treatment for their products under GSP," he said and asked if the administration has considered using its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) to limit or eliminate privileges for countries like India that impose this discriminatory measures on US companies.

"(The issue of localisation and local content requirement) is a huge problem and we're seeing it proliferate in various markets. In India we recently filed a WTO case challenging local content requirements in India's national solar mission," Marantis said.

"We have a variety of tools at our disposal and need to look very carefully at which ones are the most effective in adjusting the proliferation of local content requirements in India and elsewhere," he said in response to a question on GSP.


First Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 09:07
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