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India escapes US rap on intellectual property rights issues

There were pressures in the US, specially by some pharmaceutical companies, to get India downgraded from the "watch list" to "priority foreign country".

twitter-logoE Kumar Sharma | December 15, 2014 | Updated 12:53 IST
India escapes US rap on intellectual property rights issues
Photo: Reuters

India has averted the threat of any immediate downgrade by the US under its intellectual property rights regime.

There were pressures in the US, specially by some pharmaceutical companies, to get India downgraded from the "watch list" to "priority foreign country".

If a nation is put in the category of "priority foreign country", like Ukraine at the moment, then imports from that country into the US would not enjoy any trade preferences.

In the 2014 Special 301 Report published in April, the US Trade Representative had announced that the US would initiate an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) of India in the fall of 2014 to evaluate progress toward achieving meaningful, sustained and effective engagement on IP issues with India.

However, the USTR said in a recent statement that over the past few months, there have been multiple engagements with Indian officials on the broad range of issues of concern to the US.

"India has made useful commitments in recent months, including to institutionalize high-level engagement on IP issues, to pursue a specific work program and to deepen cooperation and information exchange with the United States on IP-related issues under the US-India Trade Policy Forum," the statement said.

The US urged India to further strengthen bilateral engagement on IP issues. "We welcome the opportunity to implement fully the agreed 2015 work plan on intellectual property as well as each of the IP-related commitments announced as part of the November 2014 Trade Policy Forum. As this OCR comes to a close, the US looks forward to the 2015 Special 301 Review process, which will provide the next formal opportunity for a thorough review of India's environment for IP protection and enforcement, including progress made on recent IP-related commitments and on engagement through the agreed work plan," the statement said.

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