New Delhi: Pointing out issues related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in India's bilateral trade, US has asked India to monitor its IPR norms and address this problem mutually.
A day before the Trade Policy Forum meeting with Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the US Trade Representative Michael Froman told the representatives of Indian industry that India and the US need to explore collaborative and creative solutions to resolve IPR-related issues that were impeding bilateral trade.
Issues related to IPR norms have often been referred to as a cause of concern by the US, while India has also raised its own issues with the US on IPR-related matters especially in the pharmaceuticals sector. Froman highlighted issues relating to IPR protection, local sourcing norms, regulatory challenges and mobility of high skilled labour in a closed door round table with CII representatives here.
Stressing on the high standards for IPR being adopted by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, Froman suggested that as an innovative economy, India needs to look at IPR norms more closely.
At the same time, he suggested that collaborative and creative solutions need to be explored by both countries to address and resolve issues where this is no agreement.
During a meeting with representatives from another industry chamber FICCI also, Froman said it was in India's interest to have a strong and world class IPR regime. The USTR also said that patents, trademarks, piracy, counterfeiting, compulsory licencing are "challenging issues and dealing with them directly is critical if India has to play a leadership role in the knowledge economy" and also to become a digital India.
"It is very much in US interest that India succeeds...The question is what can we do through our engagements in trade and investments to support these objectives," he said.
Froman said, "Incentivising life-saving innovations and promoting affordable access to quality healthcare and safe medicine will benefit all Indians and Americans. "Indeed, India is home to many innovative ideas for delivering cost-effective healthcare".
Froman also said US President Barack Obama's recent executive order on immigration which will benefit H1B workers and their spouses, many of whom are from India. He expressed hope that President's action will help ease concerns of Indian firms with regard to challenges in high skill labor mobility with the US.
During the CII meeting, senior representatives from Indian firms spanning diverse sectors such as pharmaceuticals, technology, financial services, engineering and automotive sectors raised some of the major issues and challenges faced by Indian companies in doing business with and in the US.
Other specific issues raised during the meeting include the lapsing of Generalized System of Preferences by US Congress which is having a detrimental impact on Indian SMEs, and the challenges faced by Indian generic pharmaceutical companies with regard to the USFDA.
The issues like upcoming BASEL III norms on bank capital adequacy which will negatively impact financing for trade by SMEs and onerous restrictions on SMEs imposed by the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), also came up for discussions.