No denial of visa to US trade commission delegation: India

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Government today rejected reports that it has decided not to grant visa to members of the US International Trade Commission which has initiated a probe against India's trade and investment policies.

"Any trade visit from the US is welcome and there is no denial of visa. The issue of whom they meet is a separate matter and is decided on the basis of administrative availability," the spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.

The clarification came following reports that government had decided not to grant visas to members of the US International Trade Commission (USITC), a quasi-judicial federal American agency, to visit India.

An official in Commerce and Industry Ministry, however, said government has decided not to meet the USITC members when they come here.

USITC has alleged that New Delhi's trade and investments rules, particularly intellectual property laws, discriminate against US companies. Last week, it conducted a hearing in connection with its investigation, 'Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy'.

In recent times, the Obama administration had been strongly criticising India's investment climate and IPR laws, specially in the pharmaceuticals and the solar sectors.

The USITC has raised the matter of rejection of patent to Bristol-Myers Squibb's Sprycel and Novartis' Gleevec. It has stated that Indian IPR laws are not Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) compliant under the WTO.

India already figures on the US Government's Special 301 Priority Watch List and there is also a proposal to include India in the list of America's Priority Foreign Country.

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

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