Wants India to be dubbed as a Priority Foreign Country, a status reserved for those that are the most egregious violators of intellectual property rights

Washington : Ramping up their anti-India campaign, an influential section of American businesses, in particular those from the pharma and manufacturing sectors, here on Monday urged the Obama Administration to designate India as a Priority Foreign Country, reports PTI.

A Priority Foreign Country is a status reserved for those nations that are the most egregious violators of IP rights and have the most negative impact on US competitiveness abroad.            These corporates have alleged that India’s trade practices are discriminatory and have failed to adequately protect and enforce intellectual property (IP).

Experts say it would lead to a trade war between both the countries if India is designated as a priority foreign country under pressure from the US industry.

Representatives of more than half a dozen influential trade organisations appeared before an inter-agency governmental panel lead by the US Trade Representatives (USTR) on Monday.  Another 60 businesses and advocacy organisations wrote two separate letters to the USTR alleging that India has discriminatory industrial policies including its blatant disregard for intellectual property.  These policies threaten manufacturing and jobs across the country, they said.

“In the past two years, the Indian government has demonstrated a pattern of behaviour that caused a rapid deterioration of the IP environment, making India an outlier in the international community,” Jasper MacSlarrow, executive director of the Intellectual Property at the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) told the USTR panel which held a special hearing on its annual USTR Special 301 Report.

“The simple reality is that over the last twelve months India has reached an inflection point both in terms of the egregiousness of its domestic policies and the belligerence of its international statements on IP protection. Its practices clearly reach the threshold for a Priority Foreign Country determination,” said Brian Pomper from the Alliance for Fair Trade with India.

“It continues to deny and revoke patents for innovative medicines manufactured in the US and elsewhere. It continues to weaken protection and enforcement of copyrights, patents and regulatory data,” the letter said quoting Paul Kilmer, of the Special 301 Trademark Working Group.

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