The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) are among 16 business groups that have joined a newly formed coalition, the Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI). The AFTI, which is cochaired by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, was formed to support increased action to resolve what it terms as "discriminatory" trade practices, including what it terms as an "erosion" of intellectual property (IP) rights in India.
“India’s recent discriminatory and unfair actions are harming American jobs and have put at risk the $60-billion trade relationship we have with our fourth largest trading partner,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, in a June 18, 2013 NAM statement. “We are asking the Obama Administration to engage India’s government at the highest levels to put an end to these harmful practices and to prevent this from happening again. The NAM is committed to working with our industry partners to ensure that India abides by global trade rules to protect America’s competitiveness.”
Earlier this month, the NAM, along with other industry associations, including PhRMA and BIO, sent a letter to President Obama raising concerns about India’s trade practices and their impact on US-based manufacturers. “It is time the Government of India ended discrimination against our nation’s exporters and took steps to ensure it is not repeated in the future,” the letter noted. “To achieve this result, we urge the US government immediately to initiate bilateral engagement at the highest levels and to coordinate closely with the European Union and other like-minded economies.”
In the coming weeks, AFTI said it will work with the Administration and members of Congress to pursue public policy-options that “help create a level playing field for US exporters operating in India,” according to June 18, 2013 AFTI press release. “Additionally, AFTI will outline the consequences of inaction, specifically as they relate to job creation, economic growth and continued innovation” said the release.
In addition to AFTI, more than 170 members of the US House of Representatives and 40 US senators sent letters to President Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry expressing concerns with India’s “discriminatory” trade and intellectual property practices and urged for immediate action to address them. On June 14, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) sent a letter, and on June 18, more than 170 House members, led by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and John Larson (D-CT) sent one. On June 20, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), Trade Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Charles Rangel (D-NY) and 35 members of the House Ways and Means Committee also sent a letter. On June 20, 40 senators, led by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) also sent a letter.
The letters come as Secretary Kerry traveled to the Middle East and Asia, which included a trip to New Delhi, from June 23-25, where he chaired the interagency delegation to the fourth annual US–India Strategic Dialogue. The Strategic Dialogue, inaugurated in 2009, is a forum for discussing US–India cooperation on bilateral and regional issues