Washington: Indicating a change in its position on key issues like intellectual property rights and food security – the two areas of concerns for India – the US appears to be sensitive and supportive of the Indian view point in this regard.
A top US trade officials yesterday told American corporate leaders that the Obama Administration is supportive of the Indian stand on affordable medicine and food security; which of late has emerged as the most contentious issues between the two countries.
“We are very clear. We want to give assurances on issues around food security. We remain committed to food security,” US Trade Representative (USTR) Mike Froman said in response to a question during the annual leadership summit of the US-India Business Council.
Froman in fact pointed out that President Barack Obama had launched a major commitment on food security in 2009.
“We are committed to food security,” he said, hoping that India and US would arrive at a solution to resolve this issue in a multilateral way.
Soon after coming to power, the Modi Government had blocked the trade facilitation agreement (TFA) at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) arguing that its concerns on food security have not been addressed.
Following the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama at the White House last month, the two sides decided to launch a dialogue on intellectual property rights.
Observing that the dialogue would look at all issues of affordable access and quality medicine, Froman said his sense is that there are ways to achieve those objectives while respecting the intellectual property rights necessary to ensure that there are no impediments to innovation in the future.
“That is the kind of dialogue that we are going to have,” he said.
“We are totally supportive of the notion that it is important to have access to affordable medicines. We care about that here. Eighty per cent of our prescriptions are filled by generics,” he said.
“So when our partners talk about access to affordable medicine, we are on the same page. The question is how best we achieve that,” he said.
Froman said India is a very much an innovative and creative economy – everything, from innovations in medicine, various patents and inventions to Bollywood, the creativity that comes from the great entertainment.
“So one thing that the leaders agreed to do is to launch a broad dialogue on intellectual property rights from Hollywood to Bollywood, because there are a number of areas, common between the two countries that they need to protect their products,” he said.