[Ip-health] India hardens trade stance against US, wants disputes to go to WTO

Shailly Gupta shailly.gupta at geneva.msf.org
Mon Feb 24 02:42:55 PST 2014


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The government has maintained that Indian laws are compliant with WTO rules
and there was nothing wrong with them.

 

 <http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toireporter/author-Sidhartha.cms>
Sidhartha, TNN | Feb 22, 2014, 02.49AM IST

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/India-hardens-tra
de-stance-against-US-wants-disputes-to-go-to-WTO/articleshow/30812692.cms

 

NEW DELHI: The government is set to ask all its officials to stay away from
any interaction with a delegation from the US International Trade Commission
(USITC), a quasi-judicial agency, probing the impact of
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/India's-trade-and-investment-regim
e> India's trade and investment regime on the American economy in what is
seen as the latest sore point in economic ties between the two countries.

The move follows a meeting in the ministry of external affairs on Friday and
comes after the government took the view that its laws and policies are its
sovereign functions, while the US actions are unilateral. "The hearings
relate to our patents regime and industrial and trade policies, which are
governed by multilateral agreements, of which the US is also a signatory.
So, if there is a dispute, it has to be settled at a multilateral forum like
the WTO. No country can apply its own law extra-territorially," said an
official privy to the discussions.

As a result, it has been decided that the USITC's request for meetings with
officials in close to a dozen department will be turned down, leaving it
with the option to hold talks with private companies and industry bodies.

Following an authorization by the
<http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/Senate-Finance-Committee> Senate
Finance Committee and the House of Representatives' Ways and Means
Committee, USITC is on a "fact-finding" mission and is looking at all Indian
policies and tariffs since 2003 that support local industries and may
discriminate against US imports, investment and jobs. In addition, there is
focus on foreign direct investment (FDI) and intellectual property rights
(IPR).

IPR has been a special focus area for US drug majors as they have been hit
by India's insistence that it will only grant patent protection for products
where a "genuine" invention has taken place and not for mere modification of
an existing item. There is widespread annoyance with patent revocations on
these grounds. Similarly, Big Pharma is complaining about the decision to
waive the patent for a cancer drug and let an Indian company manufacture it
at a substantially lower cost.

The government has maintained that Indian laws are compliant with WTO rules
and there was nothing wrong with them. Separately, the US Trade
Representative is scheduled to listen to the arguments of Alliance for Fair
Trade in India (AFTI), comprising American lobby groups, as part of the
hearings for the Special 301 Report, an annual listing of IPR and trade
practices in other countries. AFTI comprises groups that represent sectors
such as pharma, solar energy, telecom equipment, biotech and music-all areas
where the American industry complains that India has "engaged in a
persistent pattern of discrimination that is hurting" manufacturing and
services industries and jobs in the US.

 

-----------------------------------

 

 

Shailly Gupta

Advocacy and Communication Officer

MSF Access Campaign

K-30 First Floor, Jangpura Extension

New Delhi -  14

Ph: +91-11-41823783/84

M: +91-9899976108

 

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