"We have seen a positive recognition from the Indian Government that it can do more to attract foreign investment. We are encouraged by a number of reforms being pursued with respect to taxes, land acquisition and labour," said US Deputy Chief of Mission Christopher Wilson at the WTO Trade Policy Review of India in Geneva.
"There are encouraging signs that positive trade-specific reforms may be contemplated, including the drafting of the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy and recent public statements by Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi calling for a stronger IPR regime," a statement by the Office of the US Trade Representatives quoted Wilson as saying.
Wilson said the US is pleased that in March, the Indian Parliament passed a bill increasing the limit on foreign investment in the insurance sector. And in April, India published its new 5-year foreign trade policy, announcing new programs aimed specifically at implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
"In light of India's very direct role in shaping the TFA, we look forward to hearing India's plans to complete timely ratification of the TFA and also to submit its Category A notifications," he said.
"The US invites India to consider how additional steps to open the country's trading regime can help India harness the benefits of trade to drive up investment and create jobs," Wilson said. These steps would include significant, long-term reductions in agricultural tariffs and removal of unjustifiable SPS and TBT impediments on agricultural imports, both of which can help address food price inflation," he said.
"This would also open the retail and the e-commerce sectors to increased foreign participation which can contribute to improving supply chains and greatly reducing food wastage and avoiding recourse to export restrictions," he said. A strong and effective IPR regime is a critical component of attracting and retaining investment and achieving India's ambitious economic goals, the US trade official said.
"As the Indian Government reviews the recommendations of the IPR Think Tank, we recommend providing a new round of solicitation of public comments before the Policy is made final," he said.