At a closed door roundtable with a senior industry group from the Confederation of Indian Industry, US Trade Representative, Ambassador Michael Froman highlighted issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights protection, local sourcing norms, regulatory challenges and mobility of high skilled labour. He stressed on the high standards for IPR being adopted by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and suggested that as an innovative economy, India needs to look at IPR norms more closely. At the same time, he suggested that collaborative and creative solutions need to be explored by both countries to address and resolve issues where this is no agreement.
Ambassador Froman further spoke of US President Obama’s recent executive order on immigration which will benefit H1B workers and their spouses, many of whom are from India. He expressed hope that the President’s action will help ease concerns of Indian companies with regard to challenges in high skill labour mobility with the US.
On the Indian side, the interaction was led Ajay S Shriram, President, CII; Sumit Mazumder, President Designate, CII; and Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.
Senior representatives from Indian companies spanning diverse sectors such as pharmaceuticals, technology, financial services, engineering and automotive sectors raised some of the major issues and challenges faced by Indian companies in doing business with and in the US. Specific issues raised included the lapsing of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by the US Congress which is having a detrimental impact on Indian SMEs; the challenges faced by Indian generic pharmaceutical companies with regard to the USFDA; the upcoming BASEL III norms on bank capital adequacy which will negatively impact financing for trade by SMEs and onerous restrictions on SMEs imposed by the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Referring to FDI caps on various sectors, Shriram said “The Government of India is committed to opening up the Indian economy-we have already seen this with the defense sector and expect the trend to continue in other areas also.”
Banerjee further expressed satisfaction on the resolution of the impasse at WTO and said “CII is extremely pleased that India and the United States have come to an understanding with regard to Trade Facilitation and Food Security.”