India-U.S. trade tensions escalate
The U.S. India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) last week slammed a potential move by the U.S. Trade Representative to designate India a “priority foreign country” in ongoing trade disputes between the United States and India.
The decision to designate India as such is being driven primarily by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), which represents about 50 U.S. business groups, and has long seen India as consistently violating WTO trade rules.
Priority foreign country status is given to nations that have the worst intellectual property rights and most negative impact on U.S. competitiveness in global markets.
There are 14 past or current WTO cases between India and the United States, whose bilateral trade in goods reached $63.7 billion last year, according to a Reuters report last week.
“India has since hardened its stance, instructing officials not to entertain any request from the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) -- a quasi-judicial federal agency -- to examine its trade practices,” the report said.
“This move by some sections of U.S. industry to designate as a PFC country is wrong,” said Robinder Sachdev, director of India affairs of USINPAC. “We urge all parties to come to solutions through dialogue at bilateral or multilateral levels. The governments in the U.S. and India must avoid the impression that relations between two countries are adrift. Today, the people and businesses of both the United States and India are engaging more than ever in history, and such disputes should be resolved via dialogue rather than threats and sanction.”
USINPAC did admit that there have been a rash of reciprocal moves by the two countries as tension mounts over the recent U.S. decision to arrest an Indian diplomat over visa fraud. The U.S. has longstanding issues with the safety of India’s pharmaceutical products, India’s domestic preference for solar panel manufacturers and piracy of creative content.
The USTR listed in a Feb. 12 report that markets in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad were among the worst offenders globally for the sale of pirated software and counterfeit goods.
On a broader scale, India has been seen as of the one chief roadblocks in WTO negotiations on reducing global trade barriers.
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