[Ip-health] Wall Street Journal Profile on India's Commerce and Industry Minister Sitharaman

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Jun 17 04:02:32 PDT 2014



Commerce and Industry Minister Sitharaman, 55 years old, bagged the
high-profile portfolio after years as a party spokeswoman known for her
calm, concise defense of the party line on the country's often raucous
nightly news debate shows.

While the BJP is still putting together the details of a new trade policy
for India, Ms. Sitharaman said she would continue to use the country's
rising global profile to promote its positions in the World Trade
Organization and other trade talks. "My approach certainly will be with the
guidance of the prime minister to be sure that our national interest has to
be emphasized," she told The Wall Street Journal.

WTO negotiations on the resort island of Bali in Indonesia almost broke
down in December because India refused to bend on one of its demands,
connected to food stockpiling.

In bilateral talks with the U.S., India doesn't plan to change its position
on intellectual property rights, Ms. Sitharaman said. The U.S. claims India
isn't protecting U.S. pharmaceutical patents. Ms. Sitharaman said that when
she meets with her U.S. counterpart next month in Australia, she will make
clear that India doesn't think its policies are in violation of WTO rules.

"Where we need to protect our intellectual property rights, we will stand
up and speak without hesitation," she said. "There is no gray area here
and, if there are gray areas for the U.S. authorities, we are willing to
openly speak about it."

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