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India to be global leader in pharma: US

But only when it liberalises its FDI policy and addresses IPR issues, says US Under Secy of Commerce FL Lavin.

india Updated: May 02, 2006 13:56 IST

The US on Monday asked India to further liberalise its foreign direct investment norms and address issues related to Intellectual Property Rights to attract American investments.

"India's FDI policy should be more flexible to allow more foreign equity and ensure level-playing field for foreign and domestic companies," US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Franklin L Lavin said at the AGM of American Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

India attracts $5.9 billion of FDI from US while flow of FDI into Singapore is $56.9 billion due to the simple FDI procedures, he pointed.

"A vibrant IPR regime is critical to the promotion of a creative, technologically advanced (Indian) economy," he said.

India should be a global leader in the pharma sector but its lack of attention to IPR has proved to be a hindrance in its growth, Lavin said.

Addressing issues concerning the American business houses, Lavin said, "India needs to sort through the challenge of its high trade barriers. The more India can lower its barriers, the better-off its people will be. While India has significantly lowered tariffs on non-agricultural products, agricultural tariffs remain around 40 per cent".

He further said that India should allow entry of private companies in the agriculture sector to strengthen it.

"As a significant exporter of services and in light of the benefits that India can achieve through the WTO Doha round, we believe that it would be beneficial for India to lower these high agricultural tariffs," he said.

On India's need for nuclear energy, he quoted US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice as saying: "India needs at least eight nuclear reactors by 2012. If two of these contracts are given to US companies it would benefit both the countries with employment generation and revenues".

Despite US exports to India doubling in the past four years from four billion dollar to eight billion dollar, Blake too sought removal of trade barriers in India to further boost bilateral trade.

Lavin too said that in spite of the good trade statistics and progress made by India because of the reforms, India has to make up for its slow economic growth.

"Even with 30 per cent growth in US exports to India last year, the vast market of India accounts for less than one per cent of all US exports," he said.

First Published: May 01, 2006 16:30 IST