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Business Group Wants India’s GSP Benefits Suspended for IPR Violations

Thursday, May 16, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation released this week a paper calling for the suspension of India’s eligibility for benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences due to inadequate protection of intellectual property rights. The paper also recommends that the International Trade Commission investigate “how India’s mercantilist policies damage the U.S. economy.”

Over the past several years “India has embraced a range of ‘innovation mercantilist’ policies such as forced intellectual property transfer or mandated local production as a condition of market access that seek to bolster Indian economic and employment growth by distorting global trade rules and forcing investment and production occur in India,” said Stephen Ezell, the paper’s author. “India has erected these policies in a diverse range of sectors from information and communications technology to life sciences, clean energy, digital content, financial services, and retail.”

GSP provides duty-free treatment to imports of over 5,000 goods from dozens of developing countries, and a Reuters article states that India was the “top recipient of GSP benefits in 2012.” With GSP slated to expire July 31, the article adds, there is “an opportunity for lawmakers to tinker with the program as they work on its renewal.” However, there appears to have been virtually no discussion of GSP reform in Congress in recent months.

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