Washington, Feb 10 (IANS) The US Trade Representative (USTR), Mike Fromann, will take Monday a “trade enforcement action” against India that could damage relations between the two countries, which has been on the mend after the diplomatic row over the Khobragde episode.
“Ambassador Froman will announce a new enforcement action with regard to India” at a news conference at 2 pm (0030 IST Monday night), the USTR office said, without offering any details.
The announcement came ahead of the US International Trade Commission’s scheduled hearings Wednesday and Thursday to look into India’s trade and investment practices. It also coincides with US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s visit this week to India to further strengthen cooperation between the FDA and Indian regulatory counterparts.
Over several months, there have been calls in the US, especially by pharmaceutical companies, to the Obama administration to take tougher measures against the country over alleged violation of intellectual property rights (IPR). The US Chamber of Commerce Friday asked the USTR to classify India as a “Priority Foreign Country”, a tag given to the worst offenders of IPR and which could trigger trade sanctions.
Indian pharmaceutical companies have been accused of violating IPR by producing cheap generic versions of medicines still under patent protection.
The US has put India on the Priority Watch List for monitoring its practices on protecting IPR.