The Council highlighted its top advocacy issues for 2017:
1. Need for Increased Transparency and Predictability
While the Government of India (GOI) has been willing to meet and interact with industry on a regular basis, several decisions have been issued over the past several months with little opportunity for notice and comment and/or the decisions lacked transparency and predictability. Some of these decisions have impacted the medical device, insurance, and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
2. Creating a robust Intellectual Property
USIBC was encouraged by the release of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s (DIPP) final IPR policy last year, which established an ambitious plan for increasing awareness and enforcement of IPR in India. Of course, much work still remains to be done and USIBC members continue to be watchful of IPR policies in India. Some USIBC members believe that implementation of the final IPR policy has been slow, which has left gaps in the confidence of many investors. USIBC would recommend to the Government of India a more rapid implementation phase of the final IPR policy as well as a deliberate public relations campaign to champion the effort. Careful implementation of the final IPR policy offers an opportunity to advance concrete policy and practical improvements of the IPR regime and could serve as a basis for improving India’s global position as a country leading on innovation.
3. Cybersecurity India is a natural partner for the United States on cybersecurity
USIBC supports efforts to bolster the GOI’s and Indian companies’ ability to become a global leader in cybersecurity. Due to this emerging area, the rules of the road on cybersecurity are just being formed. Rules are needed to respond to cyberattacks that are originating from individuals as well as state actors. Although there is currently a U.S.-India Cyber Dialogue, more could be done. USIBC proposes the creation of a U.S.-India Cyber Security Exchange Program, which would foster exchanges of talent. USIBC is examining ways to promote this exchange, which would send Indian talent to U.S. companies for a six-month exchange program.
4. Removing Market Access Barriers for American Companies
Recently several decisions have been made by the GOI that limit market access to American companies and concern investors. This is particularly noticeable in the insurance, media & entertainment, air cargo, and financial services industries.
5. Free Movement of Professionals Across Borders
USIBC seeks to eliminate an outdated and unfair tax for Indian workers by encouraging the U.S. Government (USG) to conclude an executive agreement with India on social security totalization. In particular, USIBC urges the new Trump Administration to work with the U.S. Congress to exempt India from the “general applicability” requirement of Section 433 of title 42 of the Social Security Act. In addition to totalization, the issue regarding the free movement of high-skilled workers disrupts the U.S.-India bilateral relationship unlike any other, and it can be fixed with pragmatic reforms. The December 2015 Omnibus Appropriations law’s so-called 50:50 fees are clearly discriminatory and should be eliminated by the U.S. Congress. USIBC is committed to working with the USG to move forward on a totalization agreement and promote laws and policies that encourage the free movement of professionals. 6. Adherence to Global Standards There are several examples of where GOI policy has deviated from Global Standards and norms. Recently, we have seen this in the ICT industry and the financial services industry and USIBC recommends that the GOI align policies to global best practices.