WASHINGTON, June 14 (Reuters) - Senate Finance Committee
leaders on Friday urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to
press India to reverse government actions they said threaten
millions of U.S. jobs in pharmaceutical, information technology
and creative industries.
"We cannot afford to sit back and watch as India adopts
policies that adversely impact U.S. innovative and creative
industries, and threaten the greater stability of the
international trading system," the top Democrat and Republican
on the panel said in a letter.
It was latest sign of growing frustration with Indian
policies in both the U.S. Congress and the business community.
It came as Kerry is scheduled to head to India later this month
for the fourth annual U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue.
Last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National
Association of Manufacturers and 15 other U.S. business groups
complained in a letter to President Barack Obama that "India is
discriminating against a wide range of U.S. exports."
Many of the same groups on Friday said they plan to launch a
coalition next week called the Alliance for Fair Trade with
India to continue pressure on the issues.
The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee
recently held a hearing to let U.S. business vent their concerns
about India's policies.
Several senators added their voices to the chorus of
complaints at a hearing two weeks ago on the nomination of White
House international economic affairs adviser Mike Froman to be
the next U.S. trade representatives.
"We're very concerned about the innovation and the
investment environment in India at the moment," Froman told the
panel, saying the administration was consulting with industry
about how best to respond to the actions.
In their letter, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max
Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah
Republican, criticized India's use of "compulsory licenses" and
other actions to allow its domestic drug manufacturers to make
generic versions of patented U.S. drugs.
"The misuse of patent law to hand U.S. intellectual property
to Indian companies is inconsistent with India's international
obligations," they said.
India's high rates of copyright piracy, local content
provisions and market access barriers also hurt sales of U.S.
movies, books, software, information technology products and
telecommunications equipment, the senators said.
"U.S. companies are losing major market opportunities in
India, and other countries are watching to see how the United
States reacts to India's actions as they consider the adoption
of similar policies," they said.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Eric Walsh)