As President Donald J. Trump descends on Davos this week, he’ll have the chance to meet with dozens of business and government leaders from around the world. This meeting is one of the best opportunities for the president to reinforce his fair trade agenda with our global trade partners, and there is no better place to start than with India.
While Trump’s rhetoric toward unfair Chinese trade policies is valid, India deserves just as much criticism for their new “Make in India” program.
The “Make in India” program has been lauded by the Indian government as a way to encourage investment in 25 key sectors of their economy, including electronics/IT, automobiles, aviation and pharmaceuticals, which opened the door to foreign investors. While this program may sound good on the surface, it continues to promote India’s antiquated protectionist policies that prevent many American goods from reaching Indian markets.
This policy prescription favors companies who want to buy or manufacture goods in India, and targets those who want to sell in India. American companies who want to engage in the Indian economy face immense regulatory hurdles, which too often price them out of the market.
Cliff-high tariffs range from nearly 50 percent to 113 percent on agricultural goods, according to the U.S. International Trade Administration: flowers, 60 percent, natural rubber, 70 percent, automobiles and motorcycles, 60 percent to 75 percent, raisins, 100 percent, alcoholic beverages, 150 percent, and textiles, some rates exceed 300 percent.
Further, imports are subject to state-level value-added or sales taxes and the Central Sales Tax, as well as various local taxes and charges. Additionally, India doesn’t make commerce easy by maintaining its infamously unresponsive and corrupt bureaucracy.
India is also one of the world’s most notable offenders against U.S. intellectual property rights. For example, India spends less than 1 percent of its GDP on healthcare, does not issue patents for U.S. medicines, and legislates price controls on medicines and medical devices. Meanwhile, the United States spends 18 percent of its GDP on healthcare and invents the vast majority of new medicines and medical devices—innovations that save and extend lives.
To make matters worse, The United States recently opened its market to Indian firms, whereas U.S. companies that invent medicines still are unable to access the Indian market. Additionally, American trade policy welcomes the import of Indian generics, 1 in 5 of which are likely to not be what sellers claim they are.
It is critical to maintain the U.S.-India trade relationship, and to ensure that India is open about the regulatory burdens it imposes on American companies. The “Make in India” program must be implemented in line with the basic tenets of free trade in the 21st century.
President Trump recently described India as a “leading global power” and asserted that in the future, he’ll work to deepen America’s strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in maintaining security in the Indo-Pacific region.
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Coronavirus Stock Market Tank is Biggest Since 2008
The plunge was fueled by new reports of the virus spreading globally.
The stock market has been sent reeling for a second straight day amidst reports of a growing Coronavirus pandemic, with the loss in stock value being the greatest two-day decline since the financial crash of 2008.
The S&P 500 index declined by more than 3% on Tuesday, closely followed by the Dow and NASDAQ. The decline in stock prices seems primarily fueled by new reports of the Chinese Coronavirus’ global spread. The disease is beginning to enter widespread circulation in countries such as Iran and Italy, the latter of which has been hardest hit by the viral disease in any country outside of Asia.
Trump administration officials are reassuring the public about the containment of the viral disease, hoping to shore up the decline in stock prices by encouraging discounted investment in the market.
The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020
Markets plunged immediately when officials of the Center for Disease Control were quoted as saying a genuine spread of the pandemic to the United States was “inevitable.” The governmental agency then went on the walk back the claims.
The coronavirus has directly affected the American economy by putting an effective freeze on imports from China, shutting down trade and exchange of goods in the pandemic’s epicenter. The implications of the disease on the American economy have led some commentators to question the wisdom of closely linking American markets to the authoritarian Communist nation, where the response to the disease has been heavily criticized for a lack of transparency.
The coronavirus outbreak shows how important it is for us to keep our borders secure.
It's also why @realDonaldTrump is right to want a trade policy focused on increasing American manufacturing. He understands that it's dangerous for our economy to be beholden to China!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 25, 2020
As the virus appears to be picking up steam globally, it may seem that health officials are finally getting the better of the epidemic in China. New diagnoses of Coronavirus in China have decreased significantly over the past week.
The human suffering caused by the disease obviously remains the most pressing issue at hand. The economic implications will prove less lasting, and the decline in stock prices may present an opportunity for financial investment.
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