US manufacturing sector appeals for ‘serious policy reforms’ in India

Source: Economic Times

The US manufacturing industry today said it is ready to invest in India but for this it needs Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enact “serious policy reforms” that level the playing field for all and encourage and protect collaboration and innovation.

“Now is not the time to simply not accept a reality that’s short of the ideal we envision,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO, of the US National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) told a meeting here.

“Now is the time to ensure that good words are backed up by good deeds, to bring about the changes we seek and to keep moving forward together to advance one of our nation’s and the world’s greatest opportunities. And when that happens, manufacturers in the US are ready to go,” Timmons said.

“Manufacturers in the United States and around the world are eager to invest in India, but first, we need Prime Minister Modi to enact serious policy reforms that level the playing field for all, and encourage and protect collaboration and innovation,” he said.

Speaking at NAM / CQ Roll Call and The Economist’s ‘Breakfast Briefing: Is India Open for Business’, Timmons said over a year ago, manufacturers were encouraged when Modi declared India “open for business” and committed to incentivise investment – all great signs – his hopeful rhetoric has not yet turned into concrete policy reform.

“Put simply, we haven’t seen the results,” he added. “As an example, the Modi government has at least said it recognises the importance of strengthening its weak intellectual property rights to protect innovators at home and abroad in its draft National IPR Policy,” he said.

“The reality, though, is the government has not implemented any significant policy changes to realise this goal,” he added.

Similarly, Modi’s talk of opening up the country’s market to increase foreign investment was undercut when India stalled a previously agreed upon WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, jeopardising a deal that included 160 countries and that would add about $1 trillion to the global economy.

“Ultimately, India and the WTO agreed on a deal late last year but India is still dragging its feet on honouring the agreement,” Timmons said.

“India’s policies obstruct the ability of the United States and other countries to sell our products outside our borders and hinder India’s ability to fully participate in the global market. India is the 10th largest economy in the world. But today, it is not even among the top 15 destinations for US exports,” he noted.

The US International Trade Commission has stated that if India removed discriminatory barriers and improved intellectual property protection, US exports to India would rise by two-thirds – the equivalent of $14.4 billion and US investment would roughly double, he said.

“Manufacturers in the United States and around the world are eager to invest in India, but first, we need Prime Minister Modi to enact serious policy reforms that level the playing field for all, and encourage-and protect – collaboration and innovation,” Timmons said.

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