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‘Make in India’ is protectionist policy: US Group to Trump administration



PM Modi and US President Trump

New Delhi, June 9 :Washington DC-based Advanced Medical Technology Association which represents US pharma and tech majors have alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘ Make in India’ programme is a move towards protectionism.

The world’s largest association of medical device companies, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed)presented its report to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in 2017, in which it conveyed that the “Make in India” scheme has been used by parts of the Indian government to justify protectionist measures”, the Indian Expres report  stated.

President Donald Trump has slammed India’s trade barriers in the past citing tariff imposed by India on Harley-Davidson motorcycles as an example of “unfair” trade practices that the United States must fight with “reciprocal taxes”, while Indian firms export “thousands and thousands of motorcycles” to the U.S. for free. Since America does not have a levy on Indian motorcycle imports.

But he’s also been trying to boost domestic manufacturing with his “Make in India” campaign.

After Indian government has imposed price caps on stents and artificial knee implants AdvaMed stated that “in addition to price controls as a barrier, the regulatory environment in India continues to be opaque and unpredictable”.

Capping the price of stents in India will adversely effect the innovations and limit access to the world -class medical care. Another significant aspect is that the price caps could deter companies from selling the latest, mostly imported technology and lowering the price does not amounts to fall in the medical expenses as the hospitals could increase “incidental expenses”.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the US will not sit back and watch as the domestic businesses are getting destroyed by unfair foreign government subsidies and dumping.America recently decided to impose anti-dumping duties on the stainless steel flanges imported from China and India.


Pakistan’s economy shows positive indicators: PM’s Office




Imran Khan Pakistan PM

Islamabad, Feb 28 : Pakistan’s economic indicators are seeing a constant improvement due to efforts made by the current government to overcome the serious economic challenges, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Friday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, chairing a meeting of his economic team, expressed satisfaction over the improvement in all sectors, adding that his government is making efforts to bring a trickle-down effect of the improving economy on general public and in this regard steps are being taken to provide relief to low income and salaried class of the country, Xinhua reported.

He also directed the economic team to keep the public updated about the positive indicators of the economy in a bid to win the confidence of the local businessman to invest in the country.

Earlier this month, the prime minister approved subsidy of Pakistani Rs 10 billion ($65 million) on five essential food items for controlling rampant inflation in the country.

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Iranian vice president tests positive for coronavirus



Tehran, Feb 28 Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar has tested positive for the coronavirus, an official said on Thursday.

Ebtekar’s adviser Fariba Ibtihaj said the vice president tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency  reported.

“Everyone in the vice president’s team was also tested and the results will be available on Saturday,” she said.

Ebtekar is not the first high-ranking Iranian official to contract the virus.

Ebtekar, joins the deputy health minister, the head of the national security commission and a reformist MP who have been infected with the virus, reports Efe news.

She tested positive on Thursday after showing symptoms the previous day during a cabinet meeting, according to state TV.

The politician is one of the most recognizable in the Islamic Republic and previously held the position of environment minister.

Iran has reported 26 deaths from the deadly disease and 245 cases total with a dramatic surge of 106 new infections registered on Thursday, the Health Ministry said.

Tehran authorities have decided to close down schools and universities in the country to curb the spread of the disease.

Friday prayers in the capital have also been cancelled.

Amid the spread of the virus, neighbouring countries have closed their land borders with Iran and most airlines have suspended their flights or imposed restrictions on air travel to the country.

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COVID-19 cases in South Korea reach 2,022, 13 deaths




Seoul, Feb 28 The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea increased to 2,022 on Friday, with a total of 13 fatalities as the nation aggressively counters the fast-spreading virus with massive testing, particularly for 210,000 followers of a religious sect at the centre of the epidemic.

The 256 new cases brought the nation’s total infections to 2,022, the Yonhap News Agency quoted the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) as saying.

Only two days ago, the number of infections exceeded 1,000.

More than half of newly confirmed cases were linked to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu, 300 km southeast of Seoul.

Of the 256 new cases, 182 are in Daegu, and 49 are in the neighbouring North Gyeongsang Province.

Since raising the virus alert level to “red”, the highest level, on Sunday, health authorities have focused on halting the spread of the virus in Daegu, the epicentre of the virus outbreak in South Korea, and North Gyeongsang.

Experts said the number of confirmed cases is expected to jump in the coming days as health authorities have begun testing more than 210,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

The government also ordered another 1,638 Shincheonji followers to self-isolate as they have shown symptoms, Yonhap News Agency said in its report.

Since the first coronavirus case — a Chinese woman from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak — on January 20, the pace of infections had not been alarming until February 18, when a 61-year-old woman who is tied to the Daegu religious sect tested positive for the virus.

Since then, the nation has seen an explosion in infections as it accelerated virus tests on potential cases.

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