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US President Donald Trump's choice for top trade negotiator has vowed to adopt an "aggressive" posture with India on protecting intellectual property rights, if confirmed.
"If I am confirmed, I promise a very robust protection for intellectual property rights," Robert Lighthizer told members of the Senate Finance Committee during a confirmation hearing for the position of US Trade Representative (USTR).
He was responding to a question from Senator Orrin G Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
"Now what can you do differently to secure intellectual property rights protection in the country of India?" Hatch asked.
Lighthizer said, "I think we need a policy that is as aggressive as we can have. There are a whole lot of areas where we are at risk in intellectual property protection; including with India. Slow and inefficient patent protection, theft of intellectual properly, insufficient property protection."
"I realise the importance of the issue and I'm fully committed to protecting intellectual property rights," Lighthizer said.
New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez also expressed concern over India's position on intellectual property rights.
"I think it's a great opportunity for us to build greater economic ties with India, but I have a real problem with their lack of protection of intellectual property rights, and for the United States, that's a critical element to whether, in the technology field, or in my home state of New Jersey, which is the medicine cabinet to the world in terms of a growing biotech and pharmaceutical industry," he said.
Menendez said on multiple occasions he had raised the issue of ensuring regulatory protections of biologics in the India-US trade agreements.