It has been reported by Reuters that in all likelihood the US trade representative will soon announce a trade enforcement sanction tied to India, potentially dealing with another blow to the diplomatic relations between the countries after involving the issue of arrest and strip-search of an Indian consul.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman discussed this issue at a news conference, last week. The US Chamber of Commerce has come under heavy pressure to react to India over intellectual property rights abuse. It is considered a move that could prevent Indian companies from producing cheap generic versions of medicines which are still under patent protection.
India is widely perceived by lawmakers and business groups in Washington as a serial trade offender as US companies are unhappy about imports of everything from shrimp to steel pipes. In a submission to the USTR (US Trade Representative), the Chamber of Commerce asked that India be classified as a Priority Foreign Country, a tag given to the worst offenders when it comes to intellectual property enforcement and one that could trigger trade sanctions.
Other trade groups, including those representing the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries, echoed the call for a tougher stance on India. Both countries have taken disputes to the World Trade Organization on several occasions. India has been on the US government’s Priority Watch List for a very long time, which means that all practices of India with respect to the protecting of intellectual property are monitored closely.
Both the US and India have been trying to get their relations back on track. India’s trade minister, who met with the head of the US Food and Drug Administration in New Delhi on Monday, said that the USTR had not warned him about the action. The Prime Minister’s office and the foreign ministry also said the United States had not yet informed them.
The arrest of Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, and the strip-search after she was accused of visa fraud and underpaying her maid, led to the cancellation of scheduled bilateral meetings. As the US is a big economy, they think they can arm-twist India into getting concessions for entering into (India’s) expanding market, in manufacturing and retail, says a senior official at India’s trade ministry who deals with international trade issues, when asked about the US action against India.by