Washington, D.C. – In advance of the upcoming U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio), former U.S. Trade Representative, and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today led a bipartisan letter signed by 40 total Senators to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to work with the Government of India to improve the business operating environment in India and end its trade and economic practices that discriminate against American companies.
While calling India a “crucial ally” and “an important export market for American-made goods and services,” the Senators wrote: “…we are very concerned that India's recent actions to force the local production of certain information technology and clean energy equipment and to deny, break or revoke patents for nearly a dozen lifesaving medications risk undermining our broader partnership. This is particularly troubling against the backdrop of a generally deteriorating environment for intellectual property protection in India.”
“If India is to truly embrace its ‘Decade of Innovation,’ India’s policymakers must begin to recognize the value of intellectual property. The stakes are too high for India to ignore. India’s deteriorating IP environment is bad for investment, bad for innovation, and bad for international trade,” said Mark Elliot, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, co-chair of the Alliance for Fair Trade with India.
“India’s unfair and discriminatory trade practices are hurting manufacturers in the United States. It’s important that this issue is raised at the highest levels to ensure India abides by global trade rules to protect America's competitiveness. Manufacturers look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure a level playing field,” said National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons. The NAM is co-chair of the Alliance for Fair Trade with India.
The Senators urged the State Department “to press for swift action,” adding: “A level playing field for American businesses, farmers and workers in India and other overseas markets is an essential U.S. diplomatic objective.”
Portman and Menendez were joined by U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Jeff Chiesa (R-NJ), Dan Coats (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Corker (R-TN), William “Mo” Cowan (D-MA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mark Pryor (D-AR), James Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Mark Udall (D-CO), and David Vitter (R-LA).