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Minister of Commerce & Industry Kamal Nath welcomes US decision to restore GSP

New Delhi
July 5, 2005 

             Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce & Industry, has welcomed the decision of the United States (US) to restore the benefits of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for certain Indian export products, which had been withdrawn in 1992. He has stated that this decision will further consolidate the strong ties between the two countries and give a fillip to bilateral trade and investments. Shri Kamal Nath had raised this issue during his recent visit to the US, and earlier during his meeting in Paris in May with Mr. Rob Portman, the new United States Trade Representative (USTR). He expressed his satisfaction at the outcome, which was a culmination of the measures taken by India to fulfil its WTO commitments on protection of Intellectual Property Rights.

            The U.S. Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) provides preferential duty-free entry for more than 4,650 products from approximately140 designated beneficiary countries and territories. The GSP programme was instituted on January 1, 1976 and is valid up to 30th September 2006 and can be further extended with a Proclamation.

             In 1992, the USA had suspended GSP benefits for a large number of products exported by India to the US, due to a perceived inadequacy of protection to intellectual property rights in India. As a result, 785 agro-chemicals and pharmaceutical products that were otherwise eligible for GSP, continued to be denied GSP benefits since 1992. The restoration of the GSP benefits would provide immediate benefits to the exports of agro-chemicals and pharmaceuticals from India.

             The Presidential proclamation signed by the US President on the subject on 29 June states as follows:

 “11. After a review of the current situation in India and taking into account the factors set out in section 502 of the 1974 Act, in particular section 502(c)(5), I have determined that India has made progress in providing adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights. Accordingly, I have determined to terminate the suspension of India’s duty-free treatment for certain articles under the GSP”