Kirk promises to take up Visa issue in US
NEW DELHI: India and the US have decided to intensify cooperation in the area of liberalising trade and investment,
strengthening intellectual property and building a digital library on traditional knowledge. In the bilateral trade forum meeting on Monday, US trade representative Ron Kirk also assured commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma that his department would take up the issue of liberalising visa regime for Indian professionals with the US immigration department that handles the issue. “We have decided to work on a framework on cooperation on trade and investment and two agreements on intellectual property cooperation and on traditional knowledge digital library,” Mr Sharma said addressing a press conference. While stating that there was no timeline for concluding these agreements, the minister said that they would be concluded soon.
The US pushed for a number of concessions on the trade front including opening up the Indian market for pistachios and lowering of duties on the US iconic bike Harley Davidson. “Only one Harley Davidson has been imported by India so far,” the USTR said stressing that the import duties were prohibitive. He added that India should open its markets for pistachios from the US just like the US had allowed imports of Indian mangoes. While the framework on cooperation on trade and investment will identify ways to increase trade and facilitate investments, the agreement on intellectual property will attempt to give ``comfort and reassurance’’ to investors in both the countries about the safety of their innovations, the minister said. He added that India had already made a number of changes in the IPR regime to make it strong.
USTR Ron Kirk said in his press conference that it was a point of concern that even after 14 years of discussions, India remained in the priority watch list of the US as far as intellectual property was concerned. He, however, added that it was heartening to see that India was making changes at the intellectual property and judicial level to have a stronger regime. In an effort to check bio-piracy and protect its traditional knowledge, India also impressed upon the US on the need to build a digital library of traditional knowledge in both countries so that unscrupulous individuals and organisation trying to patent a product or its use that has been known to people through generations get caught. US had earlier granted patents for medicinal uses of neem and haldi, which was later withdrawn when India took up the issue with the US government and proved that it was part of India’s traditional knowledge. On the issue of a more liberal visa regime for Indian professionals, the US assured India that it would take up the issue with the US immigration department and see what changes could be made.
“We have made a note of India’s concerns and are going to certainly discuss it with our colleagues (in the immigration department),” Mr Kirk said. Mr Sharma said that the Indian side had pointed out to the US the important role played by Indian IT professionals in their country and the employment that Indian IT companies had generated. With bilateral trade exceeding $ 43 billion in 2008, India is the 18th largest supplier of goods to the US market, while the US is India’s second largest goods supplier. The India-US trade policy forum meeting, which began in 2005, met for the first time under the Barak Obama administration. Royal Enfield is going to launch it's New version Royal Enfield Bullet Classic. Hero Honda's Hero Honda Hunk is a popular bike in premimum segment in Indian Market.
The Economic Times