U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke called on June 18 for India to step up enforcement of copyright laws, warning that piracy and counterfeiting were discouraging U.S. investors.
Addressing the U.S.-India Business Council, Locke hailed growing trade between the world's two largest democracies and said he was encouraged that Indian customs authorities were getting tough on counterfeit goods. But Locke said that piracy and counterfeiting are "still a serious problem, and India's criminal enforcement regime remains weak."
"U.S .businesses need assurances that when they come to India, they'll be operating in a secure and reliable environment for intellectual property," Locke said.
He also called for India to loosen restrictions on foreign direct investment in areas such as financial services, retail and television programming.
"With a population of more than one billion people, and the world's 12th largest economy, India has been the site of so much positive progress -- and yet it retains enormous potential for even more," Locke said.
Locke was addressing a conference bringing together business leaders and officials from the two countries including Anand Sharma, his new counterpart as India's commerce minister.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier told the conference that she hoped for a "dramatic expansion" in relations between India and the U.S., saying political ties should keep up with booming trade.
Trade between the U.S. and India had doubled to more than $43 billion a year since 2004.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009