[Ip-health] Indian officials decline to meet USITC officials
shailly.gupta at geneva.msf.org
Mon Feb 24 03:12:00 PST 2014
NEW DELHI, FEB 23:
Toughening its stand against the US, the Indian government has decided not
to meet the officials of the USITC, a federal American agency which has
initiated a probe against domestic trade and investment policies.
"USITC officials are coming to India and they have sought meetings with
officials of different ministries, including commerce and industry, finance
and external affairs. But India has decided not to entertain them," said an
USITC has alleged that New Delhi's trade and investments rules, particularly
intellectual property laws, discriminate against US companies. Last week, it
conducted a hearing in connection with its investigation, 'Trade,
Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy'
"The country's IPR laws are fully compliant with international laws
including WTO. If they have any issues with our laws, they can raise that in
the WTO and at that forum we can have consultations with them," the official
During the recent times, the Obama administration had been strongly
criticising India's investment climate and IPR laws, especially in the
pharmaceuticals and the solar sectors.
The USITC has raised the matter of rejection of patent to Bristol-Myers
Squibb's Sprycel and Novartis' Glivec. It has stated that Indian IPR laws
are not Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)
compliant under the WTO.
Swiss pharma major Novartis AG had lost a legal battle for getting its blood
cancer drug Glivec patented in India and to restrain Indian companies from
manufacturing generic drugs.
The Supreme Court had rejected the multinational company's plea last year.
India already figures on the US Government's Special 301 Priority Watch List
and there is also a proposal to include India in the list of America's
Priority Foreign Country.
Under the US Trade Act, a Priority Foreign Country is the worst
classification given to foreign countries that deny adequate and effective
protection of IPR or fair and equitable market access to US persons relying
upon IPR protection.
The official also said that it appears from the communication of the USITC
that their discussions may go beyond Special 301 matter and could cover a
range of Indian legislation and policy.
"The US has no right to launch investigations on Indian policies. India is a
sovereign nation and it can enact and implement polices based on its
national interest," the official added.
On February 11, the US dragged India to WTO on its solar mission plan.
Besides, the Global Intellectual Property Center of the US Chamber of
Commerce has ranked India at the bottom of 25 countries in terms of
protection and enforcement of intellectual property practices.
(This article was published on February 23, 2014)
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