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India: US trade report interferes in our policy space

While the US has actively sought bilateral and multilateral opportunities to open India’s market

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2013 2:25:24 am

The US report on foreign trade barriers that has blamed India for having significant trade barriers reflects a “biased picture” to protect US export interests and “tantamount to interfering in the sovereign policy space” of the country,India has claimed.

Rebutting the “incorrect” charges levied in the report against its import policies,barriers in services and investment,among others,India today said that its policies are transparent and in consistency with international and bilateral obligations.

In its latest report ‘2013 National Trade Estimate: Foreign Trade Barriers’ the US Trade Representative (USTR) has listed a whole range of difficulties American companies face in India,preventing them from realising the full potential of India-US economic relationship.

“While the US has actively sought bilateral and multilateral opportunities to open India’s market,US exporters continue to encounter tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede imports of US products,despite the government of India’s ongoing economic reform efforts,” the report has said.

“The report unfairly and incorrectly views regulatory requirements and legitimate policy prescriptions as constituting barriers to trade. This approach is untenable since it would tantamount to interfering in the sovereign policy space of India,” a commerce ministry official said.

The official said that the country has been striving for simplifying the tariff structure for imports and the policies are being “erroneously construed as a barrier by the report”.

“This reflects a lack of understanding of the international commitments and the policy space countries have. Our import licensing policies are consistent with WTO obligations and is consistent with the provisions of the GATT,” the official said.

The US in the report has said that the government procurement in India lacks transparency while privilege is given to public sector companies. However,the official said,governments at both the national and state level follow well laid out rules and procedures for such procurement. This is “transparent and audited as well,” the official said.

Referring to the allegations with regard to intellectual property rights,the official said India’s IPR regime is in consonance with its obligations under the TRIPS agreement.

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