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Take steps against 'unfair' Indian trade polices: US senators

Washington, June 21, 2013, (PTI) : 12:33 IST
US Senator Rob Portman. File Reuters Image
Ahead of the crucial India-US Strategic dialogue in New Delhi, American lawmakers have asked the Obama Administration to take steps against alleged Indian discriminatory trade and economic policies.

As many as 40 top US Senators led by Rob Portman and Robert Menedez wrote a letter to the Secretary of State John Kerry who would be co-chairing the India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi on Monday, urging him to seek swift action from India on concerns of the American business communities regarding Indian trade policies.

Simultaneously 35 Congressmen members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in a letter to the US President Barack Obama, asked not only to raise the concerns of the American business, but also use the platform to map out a bilateral trade and investment engagement strategy by the US Trade Representatives and to schedule a Trade Policy Forum as soon as possible.

Both the letters, written yesterday, comes on the heel of two similar but separate letters by two leading Senators from the Senate Finance
Committee and more than 170 Congressmen seeking the immediate attention of the Obama Administration and Kerry's role in it.

Coinciding with this another letter was written by 16 top American trade and business organizations to Obama last week.

"The (Obama) Administration must send a clear signal to India that it will not stand for unfair trade practices that threaten US business, jobs, and innovation.

"American manufacturers are second to none, and we must ensure that they are on a level playing field with their global competitors," Portman said.
In the letter, the Senators express their concerns that India's discriminatory actions are giving its domestic corporations an unfair advantage over manufacturers and workers in the United States and elsewhere.

The Senators urge the State Department "to press for swift action and make clear to your Indian counterparts that the United States will consider all trade tools at its disposal if India does not end its discriminatory practices,"
"India's deteriorating IP environment is bad for investment, bad for innovation, and bad for international trade," said Mark Elliot, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center, co-chair of the Alliance for Fair Trade with India.

"Manufacturers look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure a level playing field," said National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO Jay Timmons, an Ohio native.

In their letter, members of the Ways and Means Committee urged Obama to address several pressing trade and investment issues at the upcoming Strategic Dialogue.

"This year's meetings provide a particularly timely opportunity to encourage India to pursue market-based policies and reforms instead of erecting barriers that hurt US exporters, investors, and workers as well as its own citizens," members of the Committee said.

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