The decision of the Obama Administration not to place India under the punitive Priority Foreign Country list is the most sensible thing to do, economists, eminent India watchers and industry experts said on Wednesday.
They hoped the move would help in putting behind the recent acrimonious trade and business relationship between the two countries, especially in the area of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the pharma sector.
"I think it is a good constructive signal from the US that it wants to start with the new government without the baggage (or with as little baggage as possible) from the past," eminent Indian economist Arvind Subramanian said after the US Trade Representative announced its decision not to put India under the Priority Foreign Country as was demanded by a section of influential American industry.
India and the US need to move forward to resolve IPR issues and create a positive narrative about trade rather than the current negative one, Subramanian said. The Report announced further evaluation of India's intellectual property regime during an "out-of-cycle" review.
"This is a sensible outcome," Ron Somers, CEO and founder of the just-launched India First Group said. As president of the US India Business Council early this year, Somers had urged the US Trade Representative not to put India under the Priority Foreign Country, that too just ahead of the formation of a new government.
"A 301 downgrade would have been no way to greet a new Prime Minister. I said this in my 301 filing, and stand by this today," said Somers, who recently resigned from USIBC to form his own India centric consultancy group.
In a statement, the US India Business Council called for constructive dialogue on the issue of IPR between industry and the Governments of the United States and India.
"Do we have concerns regarding IPR in India? Yes. Going forward, is acrimony the answer? Absolutely not," said USIBC acting president, Diane Farrell.
"It is time to open up the lines of communication and address the challenges directly. USIBC looks forward to working with both the US Government and the Government of India to facilitate a constructive and mutually beneficial dialogue," she said.
The US Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), which had launched a massive campaign to declare India as a Priority Foreign Country, in a change of stance, welcomed the USTR decision.
"We are encouraged that USTR recognises the