House Trade Committee Focus on India

House Trade Committee Focus on India

03.13.13 | By John Castellani

Today's House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on U.S. - India trade relations could not be more timely. Chairman Nunes, ranking member Rangel and the members of the subcommittee should be praised for holding their first trade hearing of this Congress on India.

The title of the hearing, "U.S. India Trade Relations: Opportunities and Challenges", aptly describes the Indian market. However, at this time it seems to be tipping more to challenges.

The Government of India has created a protectionist regime that harms U.S. job creators. The harm is evident in our industry, where the U.S. has welcomed Indian companies while India is closing its borders to U.S. innovators. For instance, three of India's largest pharmaceutical companies have generated around 50% of their revenue in the U.S. Experience accumulated after India began granting product patents in 2005, shows it has routinely flouted trade rules to bolster local industry.

Our industry's experience demonstrates that patent rights in India are unreasonably denied. Just last month (and for the second time in six months) the Indian Patent office revoked a patent on Sutent®, a cancer therapeutic, which is patented in over 90 countries around the world. Indian law also contains a discriminatory special rule for certain chemical and biological inventions. Using this rule, India refused patent protection for a breakthrough anticancer therapeutic (Glivec®) that enjoys patent protection in countries across the globe.

The Indian government has also sought to justify a compulsory license, in part, on the basis that the product was imported rather than manufactured locally. This blatant industrial policy must be repudiated as it plainly contravenes established international obligations.

We urge Congress to work with the Administration to press the Government of India to step back from its industrial policies and give American companies the same market access that Indian companies enjoy in the U.S. We believe that working together with the Government of India we can ensure that patients in India and around the world will be able to benefit from our member companies' innovative therapies.

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