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Energy

India’s Trade Barriers Seen As Harming U.S. Firms

by Glenn Hess
January 12, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 2

U.S. exports to and investment in India would be significantly higher if not for restrictive Indian policies, according to a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). In a survey of 8,000 U.S. firms currently doing business in India, ITC found that high tariffs, investment restrictions, and weak protection of intellectual property have significantly impeded the flow of goods and services from the U.S. More than half of the firms polled believe India’s policies are discriminatory and “adversely affect their own firm more than Indian companies.” The report cites India’s limits on patents for incremental innovation and compulsory licensing requirements as “particularly problematic for pharmaceutical companies.” ITC estimates that U.S. drug shipments to India would jump 170% if New Delhi’s patent policies were comparable with those of Western countries. Congress requested that ITC do the study after complaints last year from U.S. companies over Indian trade policies. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took office last May, has vowed to reform the Indian intellectual property system.

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