This is the story of a wolf and a lamb. In 2009, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) initiated investigation against China. The ITC estimated losses of $48.2 billion “in sales, royalties, or licence fees due to IPR infringement in China”. It also reported that “an improvement in IPR protection in China to levels comparable to those in the United States could lead to an estimated $107 billion gain in US exports and sales to China” and “would likely increase employment in their US operations by 2% to 5%. This increase translates into approximately 923,000 new jobs for US IP intensive firms”. A recent study by the ITC on the Theft of American Intellectual Property asserts that “China is the world’s largest source of IP theft” and accounts for between “50% and 80% of the problem”. Notwithstanding these assertions and the US actions, the stellar inflow of FDI and economic growth continued in China. The wolf discovered that it wasn’t a lamb. It was a wily fox!
In 2013, at the initiative of Pfizer, associations of pharmaceutical and biotech companies supported by a few other vocal companies from IT, telecom, solar panel, etc, orchestrated a campaign against India’s trade, investment and the industrial policies. Most of them were frustrated, like their Indian counterparts, with the poor infrastructure, lack of governance, unpredictability of the tax regime, inadequate government spending on the health care, price regulations and the judicial activism. They worked relentlessly to launch an investigation by the ITC against India’s ‘unfriendly’ business environment. They focused on IP protection and enforcement in health care, information, communication and entertainment (HICE) sectors. They also roped in some other trade associations like National Association of Manufacturers, Alliance for Free Trade with India, Global Intellectual Property Center, etc. Some of them have already pronounced their ‘guilty’ verdict for India even before the ITC hearing is over!
The stand-off is now not confined to Sec 3(d) of Patent Act or use of compulsory licensing to save lives of people. Others have joined the bandwagon: Some want waiver of local content requirements. Some others want modification in the government procurement rules. Some want to tweak the rules of business to take on competitive Chinese solar panels and superior technology Japanese panels. It is a different matter that 13 states of the US have similar provision or that the USFDA approved pharmaceutical companies from India cannot even participate in the