[Ip-health] News: Yahoo News (India)- India seeks to insulate FTAs from IP policies of the West

Terri - Louise Beswick Terri at haiweb.org
Mon Sep 6 03:18:22 PDT 2010

India seeks to insulate FTAs from IP policies of the West


Fri, Sep 3 05:24 AM


If commerce ministry officials have their way in negotiations, all
future free trade agreements (FTA) will include a clause protecting
India's interests against third-party agreements, which include FTA
partner nations. Prompted by intellectual property agreements among
developed economies - including the forthcoming Anti-Counterfeiting
Trade Agreement (ACTA) - Indian agreements will make a point to thwart
those trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS)-plus policies
being enforced around Europe, the US and Japan when it comes to trade
with India.


"For instance, while we were negotiating our Comprehensive Economic
Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with South Korea, the issue came up as it
pertained to their prospective trade agreement with Japan," said a
commerce official on condition of anonymity. "Under ACTA, not only would
IP (intellectual property) trading rules overreach WTO guidelines
between South Korea and Japan, but they would also influence our IP
trading with those countries and their trade partners. That's the kind
of thing we're trying to prevent."


It is unlikely the clause would be a hard-and-fast rule exempting Indian
traders from such policies. Instead, it would likely prompt
communication between Indian officials and foreign trade partners in the
event that a third-party agreement nears its conclusion. "We would just
like to make sure that they consult with us so that we are prepared to
protect the interests of our traders, just as they are doing," said
another commerce official requesting to remain unidentified. "It will
probably result in some type of consultation."


India's primary concerns are based on ACTA's provisions for border
measures - allowing the seizure of medicines simply on grounds of
suspicion - and civil enforcement, thereby creating a wider scope for
injunctions and damages on all IPRs, not only on copyright and trademark
violations. If this "club of ten countries" enacts and imposes ACTA on
the rest of the world, they will likely do so after nixing the
provisions of TRIPS and the Doha declaration, which include clauses
protecting developing nations, said IP experts, including Indian
Pharmaceutical Alliance advisor Raghu Cidambi, in May before the FICCI.


"If they completely bypass the flexibilities negotiated into TRIPS with
these extraordinary measures proposed in ACTA, then the question arises:
why did we negotiate all these years," Cidambi said. "All the countries
in the world spent a lot of time negotiating and thought they'd won a
hard earned victory; basic thing from our country's perspective is that
the multilateral trade forum is being tarnished."


In a June meeting before the WTO council for TRIPS, ACTA participants
voiced their concerns about what they saw as a steadily increasing level
of counterfeiting and piracy. Indian officials have brought up the issue
with WTO as India does not have a voice in negotiations taking place
among about 15 countries. They countered Indian concerns, claiming that
that the draft ACTA agreement would not conflict with TRIPS and other
WTO provisions. They denied it would upset the negotiated balance set by
TRIPS or distort legitimate trade.



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