America Inc ramps up anti-India campaign, urges Barack Obama to tag it as 'Priority Foreign Country'

Feb 25 2014, 16:24 IST
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'India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property' (AP) 'India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property' (AP)
Summary'India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property'

of time. Some delays in contentious trademark matters have reached more than 7 years," he added.

Simultaneously, more than 50 business and advocacy organisation wrote a letter to USTR Mike Froman making a similar demand.

"Unfortunately, high-level dialogue and diplomacy have failed to reverse discrimination. Rather than engage in good faith negotiations, India has expanded its industrial policies to other products and sectors," the letter said quoting Paul Kilmer, of the Special 301 Trademark Working Group.

"It continues to deny and revoke patents for innovative medicines manufactured in the US and elsewhere. It continues to weaken protection and enforcement of copyrights, patents and regulatory data," it said.

"In the World Intellectual Property Organisation and other forums, it is actively promoting proposals that would undermine global rules safeguarding ideas, brands and inventions," the letter said.

The organisations said the US must use the enforcement tools at its disposal to address this growing challenge and to secure a fair and level-playing field for manufacturers and workers.

"In particular, we urge the Office of the US Trade Representative to designate India as a Priority Foreign Country in its 2014 Special 301 Report.

"This designation appropriately would rank India among the very worst violators of intellectual property rights and establish a process leading to concrete solutions," the letter said.

"India's egregious acts, policies and practices have a serious adverse impact on manufacturers in the United States and threaten further damage," said Linda Dempsey, National Association of manufacturing (NAM) vice president of International Economic Affairs and Alliance for Fair Trade with India Co-Chair.

"India has contributed to a climate for IP rights protection and enforcement that consistently ranks worst or among the worst in the world. The USTR and other federal agencies must consider elevation to Priority Foreign Country," Dempsey said.

In the letter, the organisations highlighted that dialogue and diplomacy efforts, including meetings between the respective countries' heads of state, have had no effect on India's discriminatory practices.

The letter goes on to detail some of India's harmful trade policies, including revocation of patents, failure to enforce patents and undermining the safeguards for ideas and inventions.

In another letter, a group of more than 10 local chambers of commerce alleged that over the last 18 months, they have seen continued policy, regulatory and legal decisions in India that have deteriorated its investment climate and particularly its IP environment.

According to the US Department of Commerce, IP-intensive industries account for USD 5 trillion, or 34.8 per cent, of

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