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            october 18, 2019

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Pre-election India blocks US trade probe, readies for battle at WTO


India is resisting investigations by the United States into its trade practices and patent laws, and preparing to do battle at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where the problem will be adjudicated, according to Shipping Gazette.
With a national election to be held no later than May 30, the government knows how well protectionist measures play with voters and making angry noises of protest against the Americans.
Thus, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot be seen as kowtowing to American pressure, and is sounding furious about a threat of trade sanctions made by the US Trade Representative's (USTR).
But the US National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has asked the USTR to single out India in its 2014 report.
"This designation appropriately would rank India among the very worst violators of intellectual property rights and establish a process leading to concrete solutions," said the NAM statement.
India is considered a repeat trade offender, with American firms complaining its about its imports they say threaten US jobs, while denying access to Indian markets to foreign goods.
India has instructed officials not to cooperate with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) in its examination of its trade practices.
The USTR said the markets in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad were among the worst offenders globally for the sale of pirated software and counterfeit goods.
Recently appointed hard-line Trade Secretary Rajeev Kher, who pressed for India's protectionist policies as the WTO meeting in Bali as chief WTO negotiator, has told his officials to hold the line on compromise.

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