Today the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on U.S-India trade issues. India represents a large market for U.S. manufactured goods exports and it’s important that India is playing by the rules.
The hearing today really looked at how we can strengthen and expand trade and investment with India, as well as what can be done to better protect investors and manufacturers who export and sell in India. It is important to enforce existing disciplines on intellectual property (IP) in the WTO and continually make progress in improving those disciplines. We have yet to reach our full potential for U.S. exports to India and there are several intellectual property risks which need to be resolved.
Testifying on these issues from a manufacturing perspective today was Roy Waldron, senior vice president and chief intellectual property counsel for Pfizer. Mr. Waldron’s duties include protecting the company’s intellectual property portfolio throughout the world. The pharmaceutical industry supports more than 4 million jobs in the United States and exports $46 billion in goods.
India is an important growth market for Pfizer. Today, Mr. Waldron discussed the many challenges pharmaceutical manufacturers like Pfizer face in India. He outlined the problems with India interpreting its intellectual property laws:
“Despite being a member of the WTO, and an important global trading partner, India has systematically failed to interpret and apply its IP laws in a manner consistent with recognized global standards. In fact, the Global IP Center’s International IP Index, ranked India LAST in terms of overall IP protection.”
Pfizer has also had India revoke patents for certain drugs. Last year the company’s patent for cancer medicine Sutent was revoked. This was a breakdown of the IP system that allows generic copies to be sold before the Stutent patent would expire.
If manufacturers are going to be able to compete and take advantage the Indian market we must make sure India is playing by the rules. Nearly 95 percent of the word’s consumers are outside of our borders, making exports and fair trade critical to our competitiveness and jobs. We must continue to work to ensure manufacturers in the U.S. are on a level playing field in India and in other similar growing markets.
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