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US businesses press Congress, White House to improve trade with India

US businesses press Congress, White House to improve trade with India
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A diverse mix of 20 business groups are calling on Congress and the White House to improve the U.S. economic relationship with India.

In a letter to congressional leaders on Wednesday, the groups wrote that said that policy reforms are still needed to ensure fair competition between the U.S. and India.

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"The strengthening U.S.-India relationship would be enhanced by improving economic ties across a broad range of areas to ensure fair competition for foreign and domestic companies, support innovation and intellectual property rights, and promote foreign direct investment," the groups wrote. 

For several years, businesses have been pressing India to make changes that would improve the trading relationship. 

While the groups acknowledged that improvements have been made in the nearly three years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election in areas such as foreign investment, fossil fuel and energy efficiency policy and address infrastructure project permitting, "concrete and lasting policy changes to address a number of other longstanding issues comprehensively remain elusive.”

"As a result, the economic relationship between the United States and India remains unbalanced and significantly underperforming its potential," the groups wrote. 

President Trump spoke to Modi of India last week and extended an offer to come visit Washington later this year. 

The groups argue that the relationship could be strengthened by ensuring similar rules for foreign and domestic companies and more support for intellectual property rights, among others.

India remains on U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 priority watch list based on its record of intellectual property rights protection.

“The U.S. government, including Congress, should use all available channels to ensure fair play for businesses, investors and entrepreneurs across the United States, and to support Indian efforts that align with these goals,” the letter said.

Business organizations signing the letter include: American Chemistry Council, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, CropLife America, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Motion Picture Association of America, National Association of Manufacturers, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.