Remove trade barriers: US commerce secretaryBy IANS
Monday, February 7, 2011
NEW DELHI - Even though India has brought down tariffs, there still exist trade barriers that need to be done away with, visiting US commerce secretary Gary Locke said Monday. He also urged improvements in the laws on intellectual property rights.
“Though India has made tremendous strides to open up its economy, there is much more work that is left to be done,” Locke told reporters at a joint briefing with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma here.
“While many tariffs have come down, others remain. Even when there are no outright tariffs there are non-tariff barriers that limit trade and investment,” Locke added.
Locke is leading a high-end technology trade mission from the US to promote the export of technologies in sectors such as civil nuclear energy, aviation and defence to the largest economy in south Asia.
The pace of trade between the US and India has been on the rise. Between 2002 and 2009, US exports to India quadrupled, growing from $4.1 billion to more than $16.4 billion.
India is a key market for the Obama administration’s national export initiative, which aims to double US exports in five years.
Locke, who earlier held talks with his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma, said he had asked the Indian government to remove trade barriers and allow US firms further market access.
Sharma said: “We held talks frankly on policy regimes, tariff simplification, market access and non-tariff barriers. I am sure both the countries would continue to impress upon these issues.”
Later, addressing a conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Locke said if hindrances on investing in India were resolved the country would see a lot more American firms coming in, thus creating more jobs.
“We believe that there are mutually beneficial opportunities if American companies can invest here, open operations and hire people. This will help in improving lives of Indians,” Locke said.
Through the first eleven months of 2010, US merchandise exports to India totalled $17.6 billion, up 17 percent from the same period in 2009.
“We have concerns about protection of intellectual property rights here. On a discreet level we are concerned on non-tariff barriers and the limitation on direct foreign investment to even on tariff imposed on a host of services,” said Locke.
Sharma assured the visiting delegation that all action would be taken to fully ensure best practices, implementation and protection of intellectual property rights.