US companies want India to change its policy on e-commerce, IPRs

Amiti Sen | | Updated on: May 31, 2019

Advocacy group to present new govt with suggestions on reforms

American businesses want the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to usher in “bold reforms’’ across a spectrum of areas including e-commerce, data localisation, intellectual property rights, land and labour laws and policy formulation, according to a Washington-based advocacy group US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

“We are working on a document highlighting the reforms and changes US businesses would want to see in India and will hand it over to the Indian government next week,” said Mukesh Aghi, President, USISPF, who is in New Delhi interacting with officials from various Ministries and Departments including Commerce & Industry.

Policy change

Aghi said that the change in e-commerce rules earlier this year, that stopped companies with foreign investments to sell products of companies in which they held equity, had come as a jolt to foreign investors such as US-based Walmart, which had invested $26 billion in acquiring Indian e-commerce company Flipkart.

“The abrupt change in policy impacted investments. A government has to maintain the trust of investors,” he said. He added that US companies also wanted India to change its rules on data localisation that disallowed data of customers collected by businesses to be transferred and stored out of the country. Aghi said that American businesses were keen to invest in India and bring in technology but they would want reforms in the inflexible land and labour laws that hinder operations.

IPR laws

Changes in IPR laws granting more protection to patent holders and relaxation in price caps for medical equipment and medicines were some of the demands being made by US companies, Aghi added.

On the proposed withdrawal of Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits that allow duty free imports of over 3,000 products from India into the US, the USISPF suggested to the US government that it should be continued as it was a gesture of goodwill and also helped create jobs in India.

Published on May 31, 2019
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