The United States and India concluded the last major bilateral commercial dialogue of the Obama administration today in Delhi, wrapping up a week of workshops and high-level bilateral meetings with a long joint statement on commercial topics. While this year’s dialogue included language that indicates discussion on issues that better reflects manufacturers’ priorities, such as discussions on intellectual property and customs clearance, it still lacked specific, concrete outcomes that manufacturers in the United States sought to be addressed in order to improve significantly U.S. commercial engagement with India.
Manufacturers welcome today’s U.S. victory on solar energy with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) rejection of India’s appeal and urge the Indian government to move quickly to dismantle its discriminatory domestic content requirements that have blocked access for U.S. solar cell modules. As each and every previous ruling in this case has shown, India’s domestic content requirements are a clear violation of core WTO rules, and today’s victory will give an important boost to manufacturing in the United States. This decision also demonstrates why the strong rules-based WTO system and trade agreements with binding and strong enforcement rules are critical to open markets and eliminate unfair barriers overseas. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) congratulates Ambassador Michael Froman and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for their successful efforts. Read More
The United States and India have much to gain by growing their commercial relationship given the relatively low levels of trade and investment that characterize a relationship that many agree is underperforming. This year’s second Strategic & Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) was an opportunity to move beyond the improved dialogue that has characterized the U.S.–India relationship since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office more than two years ago and into concrete action.
Unfortunately, the just-released U.S.–India Joint Statement marking the conclusion of this year’s dialogue has little to cheer. The NAM and others had urged the two governments to use dialogue to drive concrete deliverables. Yet, this dialogue’s “outcomes,” if they can be so labeled, are heavy on cooperation, collaboration and further discussions, but no concrete movement on issues that matter to a wide swath of manufacturers in the United States. There was, for instance, no renunciation by India of its WTO-violative actions, such as increased information technology tariffs and discriminatory localization measures on solar energy and other manufactured goods. There were no concrete deliverables announced on the protection of intellectual property and little substance on innovation. And while India has moved up on the Innovation Index, India still is in the bottom half of the rankings, behind its key Asian competitors.
As the United States prepares for its next major dialogue with India—the Trade Policy Forum—in October, manufacturers urge outcomes that will make a tangible difference for their ability to do business with India.
Learn more about the NAM’s stance on U.S.–India trade relations here.
Top U.S. officials are setting travel plans now for the second-annual Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), set for the week of August 28 in New Delhi. This year’s S&CD will be a litmus test for these dialogues, demonstrating whether they can show real progress on concrete issues impacting manufacturers in the United States or just produce more talk. Read More
India missed a clear opportunity to signal that it is serious about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promises for the country to become an “innovation hub” last week with the release of its long-awaited National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy. Far from being the breakthrough document that India’s government has claimed, the final policy framework shows little improvement to critical language and new, troubling provisions in key areas, such as patents and trade secrets. Read More
Last week, Indian media reports broke the news that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would travel to Washington for a bilateral summit with President Barack Obama, marking his fourth trip to the United States in two years. As the two governments prepare for this visit as well as for major bilateral dialogues on economic and commercial issues, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today issued targeted commercial priorities for the U.S. government to engage with India in 2016—priorities that require concrete actions by which manufacturers in the United States will gauge the success of this engagement. Read More
A new report released today by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) stressed the importance of intellectual property (IP) around the world and the danger of global IP infringement for American jobs, innovation and competitiveness. IP protection is a top manufacturing issue: innovation drives U.S. global leadership in manufacturing and promotes good-paying jobs and economic growth in a sector that is innovating more than ever before. This year’s Special 301 Report highlights specific challenges faced by manufacturers in the United States in NAM priority markets, such as Colombia, India and China. The report also analyzes global challenges, such as weak trade secret protection, counterfeiting and piracy and inadequate protection of patents in detail. Read More
India just entered its “budget season” with a flurry of reports on its economy and fiscal priorities for the coming year. While these rosy reports contain positive rhetoric about India’s economic and commercial environment, global manufacturers are looking for action: concrete steps, not just rhetoric, to address challenges that limit their access in India. Read More
Global infringement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) imperils the innovation and competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States, costing jobs and economic growth here at home. The NAM urges the U.S. government to take immediate, concrete steps to address IPR and enforcement challenges to manufacturing in global markets as identified by the NAM and others in recent submissions and testimony to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for its annual Special 301 report. Read More
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced today that a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel had found that localization rules under India’s national solar energy policy violated WTO international trade rules in discriminating against imported solar cells and modules. This marks an important victory for U.S. manufacturers in pushing back against Indian efforts to promote local manufacturing at the expense of market access and opportunity for U.S. manufacturers. Read More