Modi govt presents opportunity to reset Indo-US ties: IACC

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The new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi presents an opportunity to reset Indo-US trade relations and work towards finding a solution to the contentious intellectual property rights issue, a top official of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce said today.

"US government wants to have excellent relations with India. I expect the trade relationship with India to improve significantly. Unlike his predecessor (Manmohan Singh), Modi is not perceived as a pushover, US government will respect that," IACC Executive Vice President Asoke K Laha told PTI.

"I believe that pharma lobbies in the US work on self- interest so they are going to put pressure on the American government. However, because Modi government is a very strong government with huge mandate, if the US wants to improve relationship with India, they will push back all the pharma lobbyists," Laha said.

The US earlier kept India out of Priority Foreign Country list, a worst classification, and said it will hold discussions with the new government in New Delhi on enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights.

The US trade lobbies, particularly from the pharma sector, have been pressurising its government to place India under the 'Priority Foreign Country' list for IPR.

Under the US Trade Act, a Priority Foreign Country is the worst classification given to those that deny adequate and effective protection of IPR or fair and equitable market access to US entities relying on IPR protection.

On the US decision to deny Modi a visa back in 2005, Laha said: "US government was dictated by political pressure. In 2005, the US had George Bush-led government, while the Indian government was of the Congress-led UPA. Modi was not a strong political person at the time. But that's the past. At the moment US government cannot afford to upset Modi, they (US) have to deal with Modi government with respect".

The United States had in March 2005 denied Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a diplomatic visa and revoked his tourist/business visa.

The took the decision as per a section of the US Immigration and Nationality Act. The Act prohibits anybody who was 'responsible for, or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom' from entering the US.

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