Turning areas of contention into opportunity: India, US to revive trade talks

us-trade-anandThe US is readying to start a new chapter in its economic relations with India marred by friction over issues related to intellectual property rights, with Washington’s top trade official voicing hope that the areas of contention can be transformed into areas of collaboration when a new government in India takes charge later this month.

“The remarkable history of this bilateral relationship in just the last 20 years tells us that this is not only possible, but essential if the world’s two largest democracies are to demonstrate successfully the defining partnership that President (Barack) Obama identified as a key feature of this century,” US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman said in a blog on USTR website.

Froman posted his comment after the release of the Special 301 Report in which the US did not list India under the punitive Priority Foreign Country despite pressure American business lobbies.

Looking ahead, Froman struck an upbeat note on renewed and intensive engagement with India as a new dispensation takes charge in New Delhi.

“The election of a new government in India provides an ideal opportunity to turn areas of contention into areas of collaboration,” he said. “In light of the election in India currently underway, we have decided to look to an Out-of-Cycle Review focused on India this Fall to evaluate our ongoing engagement on issues of concern with respect to India’s environment for intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement.”

“In announcing this year’s determination with respect to India, we are redoubling our efforts to seek constructive engagement that will both improve IP protection and enforcement in India and support India’s efforts to achieve a decade of innovation and advance its legitimate public policy goals, including access to affordable medicines,” he said.

India has lauded the US’ decision to tag India with its worst offender list on IPRs.

India’s Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said May 1 that India and the US have agreed to revive their official bilateral trade engagement in June or July to sort out festering differences over IPR-related issues.




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