US telecoms industry accuses India of expanding protectionism

The peak U.S. telecoms trade body, TIA, warns India's government tech procurement policies which favor domestic manufacturers could soon spread to the private sector, and harm global trade.
Written by Mahesh Sharma, Correspondent

America's peak telecommunications industry body has warned that India's protectionist policies where domestic manufacturers are favored may violate the country's world trade organization (WTO) obligations.

US telecoms industry accuses India of expanding protectionism.

The telecommunications industry association (TIA) wrote to U.S. lawmakers, warning of the dangers of India's preferential market access (PMA) policy, reported the Times of India last week. The PMA mandates a certain percentage of electronics goods must be procured from local manufacturers.

TIA said it understands the policies could soon be applied to private sector transactions, which would be harmful for global trade and could be inconsistent with India's WTO obligations.

"These policies, if left unchecked, carry with them the potential for a contagion effect, encouraging India to issue similar policies affecting other sectors--and providing a rationale for other countries to mirror this unfortunate behavior," TIA president, Grant E. Seiffert, in a letter.

He added the ICT sector was a vibrant and dynamic one, and such restrictions would only deny India access to global technological and product innovations.

The TIA has long been lobbying for India to relax its policies toward U.S. telecoms firms. In 2011, TIA took issue with India's capitalization requirements and application fees for licenses, reported the Indian Express.

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