India shoots unilateral USTR action down; Looks towards bilateral talks

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In a very welcome and quick response to USTR’s Special 301 Out of Cycle Review (OCR) process for India that opened for comments a couple of days ago (October 14th), the Government of India has told the American authorities that they will not be cooperating with this unilateral process, writes Nayanima Basu in the Business Standard.

Pointing to the lack of any obligation to participate in the unilaterally held Special 301 process, Indian authorities have said that they would engage US in bi-lateral dialogue mechanisms under the new IP working group, rather than the unilateral process. This is a terrific move by India, given that the  USTR Special 301 process is a degrading political pressure mechanism with no credibility. As per Business Standard, India also stated that the comprehensive IPR policy that India was coming out with soon would “settle the matter” forever(!) To me, that certainly is a strong indicator that the much talked about soon to be released national IPR policy will not be giving in to pressure to modify our IPR policy as per US demand.

The new IP working group is set to take place under the India-USA Trade Policy Forum slated for next month.

India has been on the Special 301 “priority watchlist” since the start of the process in 1989. Personally, I’m very glad India is ‘celebrating’ its silver jubilee on the watchlist by saying – we don’t really care what your unilateral opinion is.

H/T: Leena Desai – thanks for bringing this to our attention!

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