US lawmakers urged Trump to prioritise elimination of trade barriers by India

Vastavam web:  Top US lawmakers have urged President Donald Trump to prioritize the elimination of trade and investment “barriers” by India during his upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying they “significantly harm” American businesses and workers.The four lawmakers also claimed that India has imposed several new significant barriers that have harmed US producers across all sectors of the American economy, including services, manufacturing, and agriculture.The four lawmakers are – Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance and Senator Ron Wyden, Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, Congressman Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Congressman Richard Neal, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

“While Indian businesses continue to benefit from open US markets, India has failed to eliminate, or even address concretely, multiple trade and investment barriers that have been the focus of recent bilateral and multilateral fora,” the letter said.According to the copy of the letter provided to PTI, the lawmakers said that in recent years the US and India have sought to strengthen economic engagement through the bilateral Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the Trade Policy Forum (TPF).”Yet these high-level discussions have not resulted in the elimination of major trade and investment barriers or even deterred India from imposing new barriers. Many sectors of the Indian economy remain highly and unjustifiably protected, and India continues to be a difficult place for American companies to do business,” they wrote.

“Nevertheless, as a result of India’s persistent failure to enact market-based reforms and resolve significant and discriminatory impediments to trade and investment, the US- India economic relationship severely under performs. Bilateral trade and investment is small considering the size of the countries’ economies and the scale of the potential relationship -India accounts for less than two per cent of total US exports of goods and services and less than one percent of the stock of US overseas investment,” they said.”These barriers are prevalent in multiple sectors and include high tariffs, inadequate protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), inconsistent and nontransparent licensing and regulatory practices, and various other restrictions,” the lawmakers said.Regarding IPR protection, the four Congressmen said they continue to have concerns about India’s system for providing protection for patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

With regard to India’s licensing and regulatory practices, discriminatory determinations and inconsistent and nontransparent approval processes have hampered US trade and investment, they alleged.For example, India maintains a variety of forced localisation measures on solar and information technology products and enforces duplicative in-country security testing requirements for telecommunications equipment, the letter noted.In a statement, Patrick Kilbride, Vice President of International Intellectual Property, Global Intellectual Property Center said from the halls of the Congress to the Trump administration, US leaders have placed an emphasis on ensuring American innovation is respected abroad.