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Exclusive | “Idea that tariff barriers can protect industry is nuts”, says US Chambers of Commerce official

“When we trade together, it is an economic multiplier and we all benefit. I would encourage both governments to rethink their approach to agriculture tariffs, to industrial tariffs”, Patrick Kilbride added.

The US Chambers of Commerce is quite hopeful that India and US will chart new territory in the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) sphere with an agreement being signed between both nations after prolonged negotiations.

Coming after India slipped to the 40th position on the US Chamber’s International IP Index, officials explained that the drop had more to do with the inclusion of other countries in the index than India’s performance per se.

Terming it a “knowledge-sharing agreement”, Patrick Kilbride, senior vice-president, Global Innovation Policy Center, US Chambers of Commerce, said, We see four areas that are ripe for collaboration in the intellectual property space. The first and foremost of them is leveraging India’s tremendous investment in basic scientific research at a university level and helping India translate that scientific work into products that can help reach people and serve them in the real world.

Calling the introduction of India’s National IPR policy in 2017 as an inflexion point, Kilbride said putting it into effect across the whole government plan to leverage India’s tremendous innovative potential, its strong creative industries and changed the way India approaches intellectual property on a very fundamental level.

Concerns were raised regarding the Indo-US pact on IPR by civil society groups who wanted the contents of the pact to be made public to ensure that India resists US demands to influence the implementation of India’s IP legislation.

In response to such concerns, Patrick Kilbride said, I certainly understand that there is concern about access to knowledge, access to technology, access to medicines, and those are very important. But we need to understand that you don’t get access without innovation in the first place. So, lets first put in place rules that enable productivity in innovative and creative sectors and use that to make sure there is more access.

In the larger context of trade between India and the US and the trade deal that still has not been finalised, the officer was critical of the protectionist and inward-looking policies of the government. One of the mini-wars that India and US are fighting after the big trade war between US and China is on the issue of tariffs.

He said, The idea that tariff barriers can help to protect or promote certain industry sectors is really nuts. At the US Chambers of Commerce, we don’t believe in tariffs. We think they are counterproductive. They raise costs for everyone, certainly for goods coming into the US. It means that American consumers pay more and it is true for Indians too.

When we trade together, it is an economic multiplier and we all benefit. I would encourage both governments to rethink their approach to agriculture tariffs, to industrial tariffs, he added.

At the recently concluded visit of President Donald Trump, the leadership decided to move forward on the economic and trade front with hopes of signing a big trade deal, according to the US President.

But the question remains on whether the two sides can converge Make in India’ and America First’.

For every leader, they have to think for their citizens first and responsibilities at home. It translates to we are stronger together. An isolationist model where we retreat behind our borders doesn’t help anyone. It is a step backwards. India is a country that has so much to offer the world. More openness and collaboration globally is only going to help the economy here at home and people around the world who desperately need India’s innovation leadership, said the senior vice-president, Global Innovation Policy Center, US Chambers of Commerce.

[“source=indiatoday”]

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Loknath Das

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