No US trade enforcement action against India so far: Sharma

10 February 2014

The US trade representative has not so far issued any warning to India about a possible trade enforcement action, commerce minister Anand Sharma said in response to reports that the USTR, Michael Froman, will discuss the proposed action at a news conference at 2 pm (1900 GMT).

The USTR is under pressure to act after the US Chamber of Commerce, last week, called on the administration to put pressure on India over the negation of intellectual property rights to US corporates with Indian companies continuing to produce cheap generic versions of branded medicines.

The chamber wants India to be listed among the worst offenders against intellectual property rights and classified as a 'Priority Foreign Country' in order to trigger trade sanctions.

The US International Trade Commission is also expected to look into India's trade and investment practices at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Trade groups, especially those representing the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries, have called for a tougher stance against India (See: Pharma MNCs seek US action against generic threat from India).

India is reported to be on the US government's priority watch list for countries whose practices on protecting intellectual property should be closely monitored.

The US move comes close on the heels of a diplomatic row that threatened relations between India and the United States and the two sides are now trying to get their relations back on track.

New Delhi blames Washington for a "mini crisis" over the strip-search of its deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade in New York in December.

Khobragade left the United States in January after her diplomatic status was switched to the United Nations, affording her a greater degree of immunity from prosecution. But US authorities continue to refuse to drop the charges against her.

The latest move, if pushed forward, could derail India-US ties that had cooled after last year's arrest and strip-search of the Indian diplomat.

 search domain-b