Trade chief urges India to heed U.S. companies' complaints

Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:59pm EDT
 
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By By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urged India on Thursday to reverse course on policies that he said discriminated against American companies and were fraying relations between the world's two largest democracies.

"Let me stress that as a friend of India and one of the caretakers of our economic relationship, I am concerned about the investment and innovation environment in India," Froman said in a speech to the U.S.-India Business Council.

Froman said the United States appreciated the Indian government's decision this week to put on hold a policy that would have required private Indian companies to purchase domestically manufactured goods.

He said, however, that Washington remains concerned about a number of other policies that India has adopted as part of its efforts to promote its manufacturing sector.

"These measures range from subsidies for solar developers who use domestically manufactured solar equipment, to preferential treatment for products manufactured in India or that use domestically developed intellectual property, to denial of rights of patent holders where the invention was imported into, but not manufactured in, India," Froman said.

Experience has shown that both countries benefit most when they are open to each other's trade and investment, he said.

Speaking to the same group, Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the United States and India should not let "a few cases of business rivalry" stand in the way of good relations and asked for patience as India struggles to create jobs for its young and growing population.

He acknowledged "angst" in the U.S. business community but said the problems had been exacerbated by the global economic slowdown, which had increased competition for jobs.   Continued...

 
Michael Froman attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 28, 2010. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann