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American envoy to focus on IPR protection during his visit

Satyanarayan Iyer Mumbai | Updated on November 14, 2014

Emphasising that intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is in the “best interests of India,” the US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin said that is will be one of the main focus areas of his visit.

Rivkin’s first visit to India will see him interact with business leaders and political leaders in Mumbai and Delhi. He will be in India over the next one week.

The main agenda for his visit is to discuss areas and opportunities for enhanced economic engagement between the two countries.

“One way to get there is to engage the Indian government in a bilateral investment treaty. We have done 15 rounds of negotiations with China. With India, it has stalled a bit (last sitting took place in February 2014) and it is time to get it back on track,” Rivkin said.

He said that American businesses are keen to invest in India, but they need to feel that their investments are protected.

When pointed out that the IPR regime is perceived as an arm-twisting tactic by certain sections, Rivkin said, “I don’t understand the logic against protection of intellectual property.”

He added that when an investor approaches any market they are going to look for transparency, predictability and rule of law.

“I do believe that we can do better by working with our friends in India to improve intellectual property rights protection here,” he added.



Rivkin, during his visit to Mumbai, will meet business leaders and also draw upon from his experience as the chief of a media organisation to highlight the need to protect intellectual property.



MULTI-BRAND RETAIL



When questioned why no money has flown into India after the previous government opened up multi-brand retail to foreign investors, a US State Department Official said, “There are some challenges in actualising investments in multi-brand retail and the American industry has made no qualms about that.”

The official, who did not wish to be named, added that the State specific approval, the local-sourcing requirement, the minimum investments and back-end infrastructure requirements are all inhibiting US companies from investing in India. He also implied that Modi Government’s not-so-much-keen intention to liberlise the sector is also holding up investment.



After foreign investors complained that the earlier conditions were too stiff, the Indian government relaxed a few of those criterions.



The law mandates that foreign retailers, among other things, are required to source 30 per cent of the total raw materials locally and has also made it mandatory for them to invest 50 per cent of the total investment in back-end infrastructure (later made mandatory only for the first investment).

“Our companies are evaluating and seeing if our business models will work in the light of the revised requirements,” the above quoted official stated.





 

Published on November 14, 2014

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