India will not join US’ unilateral IPR law probe

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Ready to discuss US concerns in bilateral forum

India has refused to participate in any unilateral investigation carried out by the US on the country’s intellectual property laws, but is prepared to discuss the matter bilaterally.

“It is the US that has decided to carry out such an investigation, but we don’t have to be a party to it. We are not bound by our commitments at the WTO or bilaterally,” Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said at a press conference on Thursday.

The office of the US Trade Representative on Wednesday stopped short of blacklisting India as a ‘priority foreign country’ in its ‘Special 301’ report on countries with lax intellectual property regimes. The USTR kept India on the ‘priority watch’ list and said it will carry out an ‘out of cycle’ review of the country’s IP regime when the new government is in place.

Open to discussion

Kher said that though India’s intellectual property regime was fully compliant with WTO rules and the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights regime, it did not mind discussing any concerns that the US may have on the matter.

The Commerce Secretary is to meet the Deputy USTR Wendy Cutler next month to discuss trade issues, including intellectual property, following which there will be a meeting of the Trade Policy Forum — the platform for bilateral trade policy talks.

“I had a conversation with Deputy US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler last evening on the report. I made it clear that India is willing to engage in bilateral conversation and TPF was the best mechanism for this,” he said.

US-based pharmaceutical multinationals have been lobbying hard to get India included in the ‘priority foreign country’ list, which would have led to unilateral trade sanctions against the country.

Compulsory licence

The drug companies are upset with India’s 2012 decision to grant a compulsory licence to an Indian company for manufacturing a copied version of Bayer’s cancer medicine Nexavar; this move brought down prices by 90 per cent. They also want India to drop Section 3(d) of its Patent Act, which does not allow ‘ever-greening’ by refusing patents for incremental innovations.

India says that its position on all the areas of their concerns, which also include the issue of data exclusivity and patent linkages, was well evolved, legally sound and complied with WTO norms.

Kher said that India was not apprehensive about the ‘out of cycle’ reviews as it had not broken any law. “It appears to be a wise decision on the part of the US not to hasten to get into a decision which would have adversely affected bilateral trade relationship and a larger economic engagement between the two countries, particularly at a time when we are at a stage of political transition,” he said.

The US was India’s third largest trading partner in 2012-13 accounting for exports worth $36 billion and imports of $25 billion.

(This article was published on May 1, 2014)
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Union Budget 2014-15 Highlights

  • Following are the highlights of the Union Budget 2014-15 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament on July 10, 2014
  • Income-tax exemption limit raised by Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh and for senior citizens to Rs 3 lakh
  • Exemption limit for investment in financial instruments under 80C raised to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.
  • Investment limit in PPF raised to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh
  • Deduction limit on interest on loan for self-occupied house raised to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh.
  • Committee to look into all fresh tax demands for indirect transfer of assets in wake of retrospective tax amendments of 2012
  • Fiscal deficit target retained at 4.1% of GDP for current fiscal and 3.6% in FY 16
  • Rs 150 crore allocated for increasing safety of women in large cities
  • LCD, LED TV become cheaper
  • Cigarettes, pan masala, tobacco, aerated drinks become costlier
  • 5 IIMs to be opened in HP, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan
  • 5 more IITs in Jammu, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.
  • 4 more AIIMS like institutions to come up in AP, West Bengal, Vidarbha in Maharashtra and Poorvanchal in UP
  • Govt proposes to launch Digital India’ programme to ensure broad band connectivity at village level
  • National Rural Internet and Technology Mission for services in villages and schools, training in IT skills proposed
  • Rs 100 cr scheme to support about 600 new and existing Community Radio Stations
  • Rs 100 cr for metro projects in Lucknow and Ahmedabad
  • Govt expects Rs 9.77 lakh crore revenue crore from taxes
  • Govt’s plan expenditure pegged at Rs 5.75 lakh crore and non-Plan at Rs 12.19 lakh crore.
  • Rs 2,037 crore set aside for Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission called ‘Namami Gange’
  • Kisan Vikas Patra to be reintroduced, National Savings Certificate with insurance cover to be launched
  • FDI limit to be hiked to 49% pc in defence, insurance
  • Disinvestment target fixed at Rs 58,425 crore
  • Gross borrowings pegged at Rs 6 lakh crore
  • Contours of GST to be finalised this fiscal; Govt to look into DTC proposal.
  • ‘Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya New Teachers Training Programme’ launched with initial sum of Rs 500 crore
  • Govt provides Rs 500 crore for rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri migrants
  • Set aside Rs 11,200 crore for PSU banks capitalisation
  • Govt in favour of consolidation of PSU banks
  • Govt considering giving greater autonomy to PSU banks while making them accountable
  • Rs 7,060 crore for setting up 100 Smart Cities
  • A project on the river Ganga called ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ for inland waterways between Allahabad and Haldia; Rs 4,200 crore set aside for the purpose.
  • Govt proposes Ultra Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology
  • Expenditure management commission to be setup; will look into food and fertilizer subsides
  • Impasse in coal sector will be resolved; coal will be provided to power plants already commissioned or to be commissioned by March 2015
  • Long term capial gains tax for mutual funds doubled to 20%; lock-in period increased to 3 years
  • Rs 4,000 cr set aside to increase flow of cheaper credit for affordable housing to the urban poor/EWS/LIG segment.
  • EPFO to launch the ‘Uniform Account Number’ service to facilitate portability of Provident Fund accounts
  • Mandatory wage ceiling of subscription to EPS (Employee Pension Scheme) raised from Rs 6,500 to Rs 15,000
  • Minimum pension increased to Rs 1,000 per month
  • Union Budget 2014: List of products getting cheaper/ costlier

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today spared the common man from price hikes by keeping duties on commonly used day-to-day items unchanged but made it costlier for smokers and tobacco consumers with a steep increase in excise rate in tax proposals in Budget 2014—15.
  • Following is a list of what will be cheaper and costlier:
  • CRT television
  • LED/LCD TVs especially below 19 inch
  • Footwear priced between Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per pair
  • Soaps
  • E—book readers
  • Desktop, laptops and tablets
  • RO based water purifiers
  • LED Lights, fixtures and lamps
  • Pre forms of precious and semi—precious stones
  • Sports Gloves
  • Branded petrol
  • Matchbox
  • Life micro insurance policies
  • HIV/AIDS drugs and diagnostic kits
  • DDT insecticides
  • Cigarettes
  • Aerated drinks with sugar
  • Pan masala
  • Gutka and chewing tobacco
  • Jarda scented tobacco
  • Radio Taxi
  • Imported electronic products
  • Portable X—ray machines
  • Half cut/broken diamonds.


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