Swamy & Subramanian: Comment and context

In a series of tweets, Swamy alleged that “Arvind Subramanian of Washington DC” had urged the US to act against India’s national interests, and called for him to be sacked.

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Source: The Indian Express | June 23, 2016

After having written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan was “mentally not fully Indian”, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday trained his guns on Chief Economic Adviser to the Finance Ministry Arvind Subramanian.

In a series of tweets, Swamy alleged that “Arvind Subramanian of Washington DC” had urged the US to act against India’s national interests, and called for him to be sacked. These are Swamy’s tweets, juxtaposed with what the CEA has said in the past.

SWAMY: “Modi’s chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian had opposed India on IPR till recently”

FACT: In his testimony on ‘US-India Intellectual Property Rights Issues: Comment on USTR Special 301 Review’ in March 2014, Subramanian said that if India did not address problems created by Section 3 (d) of the patent legislation or by compulsory licensing for non-working, the US should consider initiating WTO disputes against it. He suggested that the US should address frictions and conflict through dialogue and through multilateral dispute settlement procedures. “This approach is desirable for a number of reasons. India takes its WTO obligations very seriously and has had a very good track record of implementing WTO dispute settlement rulings,” Subramanian said. He added that one of the most important reforms of Indian trade policy came after a WTO dispute panel — initiated by the US — ruled against India’s quantitative restrictions on consumer goods.

However, in the same testimony Subramanian also suggested to the US Trade Representative that a new government was about to come to power in India, and it should “desist from designating India as a priority foreign country… At such a moment of transition, potentially transformational, designating India as a priority foreign country would be a serious mistake and have a number of unfortunate consequences”.

It is important to note that the CEA was then a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development.

SWAMY: “Who said to US Cong on 13/3/13 the US should act against India to defend US Pharmaceuticals interests? Arvind Subramanian MoF !! Sack him!!!”

FACT: In his testimony, Subramanian noted that there is an alleged dilution of intellectual property of foreign patent owners in the pharma sector, and said: “In the area of pharmaceuticals where compulsory licences are most frequently employed, a nonworking provision for a country such as India is either misguided or probably a noncredible threat. It is misguided because it is premised on the view that a domestic monopoly is significantly better than an import monopoly.”

He also suggested to the US: “If India does not address the problems created by Section 3 (d) of the patent legislation or by compulsory licensing for nonworking, the United States should consider initiating WTO disputes against India.”

SWAMY: “Guess who encouraged Congi to become rigid on GST clauses? Jaitely’s economic adviser Arvind Subramanian of Washington DC”

FACT: In December, a panel on the GST headed by Subramanian ratified two key Congress demands: 18% standard GST rate, and scrapping the 1% inter-state trade tax. In its report submitted to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the panel also recommended a two-rate structure, with the lower of these pegged at 12% — and the standard rate, at which most products are to be taxed, at 17-18%.

The panel did not, however, agree with the Congress demand of including the standard rate in the Amendment Bill, saying “it would be unwise to encumber the Constitution with the minutiae of policy that limits the freedom of the political process in the future”. Incorporation of a provision capping the standard GST rate at 18% in the Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill is one of the demands over which the Congress has blocked the enabling legislation for the tax reform.

This entry was posted in Sec 3 (d), Uncategorized, USTR 301 report. Bookmark the permalink.

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