India invites the US to discuss intellectual property, market access issues

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has proposed holding wider bilateral talks with the United States to address concerns over intellectual property rights and access to the Indian market for US companies, its commerce secretary said on Thursday.

The US Trade Representative on Wednesday avoided labelling India with its worst offender tag in its annual scorecard on protecting US patents, copyrights and other intellectual property rights.

The United States kept India, which is holding a general election, on its Priority Watch List along with China and eight other countries. It said it would start a special review of India in the fall and address concerns with the next government.

"It is a very sensible decision," Mr Rajeev Kher, commerce secretary and India's chief trade negotiator, told Reuters."They know very well that India is in transition."

Mr Kher said India's Patent Law was compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organization and the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Still, India was ready to discuss the issues with Washington.

"We are prepared for a discussion," he said. "What it would lead to is something we should leave to the future."