The United State Trade Representative’s office on Tuesday announced an out-of-cycle review (OCR) of India’s trade practices, as it had said earlier in the year it would.
But the USTR announced it won’t be re-visiting India’s designation on the priority watch-list announced in April, as part of the annual Special 301 report.
The OCR starts on Tuesday with a notice in the Federal Register requesting public to “provide all necessary information for identifying and assessing the quality of engagement with the Government of India on IP-related issues of concern”.
The review will determine if Indian trade laws and practices and its intellectual property rights regime are adversely impacting US businesses.
The review will take place along side the recently announced — during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit — annual high-level Intellectual Property Working Group as part of the bilateral Trade Policy Forum.
The OCR is in line with the US commitment, the USTR said, to “redouble our efforts to seek constructive engagement that will both improve IP protection and enforcement in India and support India’s efforts to achieve a ‘decade of innovation’ and advance its legitimate public policy goals, including access to affordable medicines”.
But by not revisiting the earlier designation of India as priority watch country, the USTR made clear India will not be named a “foreign priority country”, as the worst category of trade violator from US point of view.
That’s not on the table. A growing section of US industry, led by the powerful US chamber of commerce, had demanded that India be named a “foreign priority country”.