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 stressed the importance of intellectual property (IP) around the world, and the danger of global IP infringement for American jobs, innovation, and competitiveness. Intellectual property protection is a top manufacturing issue: innovation drives U.S. global leadership in manufacturing, and promote 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
Members of Congress, policy experts, economists, and industry leaders gathered at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C., yesterday morning for a policy breakfast briefing event to examine an important question: “Is India Open For Business?” after the first year of the Modi government. Read More
Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative released its annual Special 301 report which analyzes the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) among U.S. trading partners and also marks the first full review of India’s IPR regime since Prime Minister Modi took office. As in past reports, USTR once again placed India on the Priority Watch List due to ongoing concerns with the country’s lack of protections for innovators.
The report confirms that, despite ongoing dialogues and increasingly strong statements from Prime Minister Modi regarding his commitment to increasing protections for innovators in India, there has been no actual concrete action to improve IP protections. USTR expects ongoing dialogues to “bring about substantive and measurable improvements in India’s IPR regime for the benefit of a broad range of innovative and creative industries” and will “take further action, if necessary.”
As the NAM explained in its Special 301 comments filed in advance of the report, there are many areas where there has been dialogue, but no real improvement to India’s IPR policies including patent and data protection, compulsory licensing, and copyright piracy. This lack of progress and backward action in a number of areas from IPR to localization policies was also detailed just last week in the NAM’s pre pre-hearing statement filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is conducting a second investigation into India’s trade and investment practices and their input on U.S. industries. These policy failures have a significant impact on businesses’ ability to innovate, create jobs, and grow the economy.
But businesses and industry leaders are not the only ones taking notice of India’s lack of progress in IPR and market-opening measures. India’s policies are impacting their global image as a country committed to innovation as reflected in India’s decline in various innovation and other measures. U.S. lawmakers are also taking note of the lack of concrete improvement in IPR in the country.
The NAM is committed to increasing commercial ties through a fair and more open trading relationship with India. To achieve that type of relationship – and for India to grow its economy and become the innovation leader it seeks to be – there must be more than talk and vague promises. It is time for India to take measures to bring its IPR regime up to global standards, to respect private property and innovation and seek to grow its economy through encouraging trade and investment.
Every year, the city of Hannover, Germany, hosts the world’s largest industrial trade fair—the Hannover Messe—which increasingly highlights the most important advancements in manufacturing technologies. Next year, the United States will be the official partner country, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is very excited that manufacturers in the United States will have a special showcase for their innovations and best-in-class manufacturing solutions. Read More
If India removed discriminatory barriers and improved intellectual property protection, U.S. exports to that country would rise by two-thirds (the equivalent of $14.4 billion, based on 2013 data) and U.S. investment would roughly double. That’s the stunning conclusion of a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) study out today on the impact of India’s trade, investment and industrial policies on the U.S. economy.
The ITC’s results confirm what manufacturers have long known – India’s unfair policies increasingly are harming U.S. exports of a wide array of products, costing jobs and growth in both countries. The results provide a powerful roadmap for change as U.S. and Indian officials continue to work toward stronger bilateral commercial ties through the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum and the High-Level Working Group on Intellectual Property. Read More
In his recent Independence Day speech, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out his vision for a future driven by innovation and aimed at improving the lives of all Indians. To achieve a “Digital India”, his government plans to build the infrastructure necessary to ensure all Indians have access to essential public services and information.
It’s a critical focus and surely an inspiring signal to his constituents and international partners. After all, innovation is essential for the growth of any nation in the 21st century. By embracing the potential of technology, the people of India can connect and unite like never before. From improving access to education and embracing the diverse benefits of telemedicine, to increasing the country’s electronic manufacturing capabilities, even those living in the far remote expanses of rural India could benefit.
The Obama Administration was quick to praise Modi’s approach and to highlight opportunities for collaboration. In comments at the New York Foreign Press Center, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal expressed “a great deal of desire to look and see what we can do to create or stand up a infrastructure platform that would allow American companies to be able to focus their tools, their technologies, their capabilities around the priorities that have been identified by the Indian Government.”
Indeed, there is “a great deal of desire.” But translating Modi’s grand vision into reality will be difficult, and so far there’s been more talk than action. India continues to maintain discriminatory industrial policies that are blocking U.S. exports of the very information and communication technology products Modi will need to achieve a “Digital India.” Widespread copyright piracy and weak protection of intellectual property rights in India are discouraging innovation and investment.
While other countries are opening their markets and undertaking the kinds of legal and economic reforms necessary to build and sustain a modern digital economy, India is falling further behind. Between 2013 and 2014, India slipped ten places in the global innovation index and now ranks a disappointing 76th in the world. According to the 2014 World Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Trade Report, India’s trading regime ranks 96th out of 132 countries in terms of enabling trade.
Modi’s government is still in its early days, and manufacturers remain hopeful that positive progress can be achieved and that a promising bilateral commercial relationship can get back on track. If India’s new leadership is serious about taking the actions necessary to achieve their vision, the NAM and American businesses stand ready to work with them.