“India, as you know, is in the midst of an election and a transition, and we look forward to engaging with the new government of India as soon as it is in place to pursue this issue with them," US Trade Representatives, Mike Froman, told members of Senate Finance Committee during the congressional hearing on Tuesday.

"With regard to those issues, we have remained extremely concerned about the deterioration of the innovation environment in India. We have been raising this at the highest levels and throughout our dialogue with the Indian government about their policies on patents, on compulsory licensing," he said.

"We have been encouraging them to enter into a dialogue about other mechanisms for addressing legitimate concerns about health care in India and about access to medicines that do not violate our intellectual property rights,” Froman added.

The top official was responding to questions from Senators on Indian trade policies, which they alleged are affecting US businesses.

"Intellectual property is fundamental to US economy. I am very concerned that US intellectual property rights are under attack around the globe and that your office is not doing enough to fight back," Senator Orrin Hatch said.

"India has been pursuing trade policies that undermine US intellectual property in order to promote its own domestic industries," he alleged.

"What they are doing seems to me to be a clear violation of their World Trade Organisation obligations. Now, I believe that enforcement action at the WTO may be the most effective tool that we have to get India to change its behaviour," Hatch said.

Senator Robert Menendez on his part said, "In the Special 301 Report issued by the department yesterday, you issued fairly strong statements about the need for improvement in both countries' (India and Canada) IP regimes, which I both support and applaud."

Froman said the annual ‘Special 301’ report is a tool through which US identifies and resolves intellectual property rights concerns around the world.

 "Thirty million Americans' jobs rely on intellectual property. We will continue to use our trade agenda in 2014 to defend the intellectual property rights of our creators and innovators while also ensuring access to affordable medicines and a free and open Internet,” Froman said.

(Agencies)

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