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India to block US trade probes, ready for fight at WTO

Published on Feb 26, 2014 10:41 AM

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India has decided to block investigations by the United States into its trade policies and patent laws and prepare for a battle at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a move that could escalate already-strained tension between the two countries.

New Delhi is furious about a threat of trade sanctions made by the US Trade Representative's (USTR) office over its protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), preference for domestic producers and non-trade barriers.

Ahead of a general election, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government does not want to be seen as bowing to US pressure, amid lingering tension over the recent arrest and strip search of a female diplomat in New York suspected of visa fraud.

On Wednesday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) - which represents about 50 US business groups - asked the USTR to designate India a Priority Foreign Country in its 2014 report.

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