India-EFTA free trade pact talks stuck on IPR issue

Negotiations for the free trade agreement between India and EFTA, four-member grouping that includes Switzerland, was stuck on the issue of intellectual property regime (IPR).

"EFTA (European Free Trade Association) wants India to commit more in IPR, a proposal which was not agreed by the Indian officials. India has clearly conveyed its stand on the matter to them. We are now waiting for their response. They have to accept India's stand," an official told PTI.

The EFTA is a grouping of four countries -- Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

"In IPR, EFTA are asking for mutual recognition for Geographical Indicators. But it is not permissible under Indian laws. They are also demanding for data exclusivity, which India is completely opposed to," the official said.

Data exclusivity provides protection to the technical data generated by innovator companies to prove the usefulness of their products.

In pharmaceutical sector, drug companies generate the data through expensive global clinical trials to prove the efficacy and safety of their new medicine. Switzerland has huge interest in this sector.

By gaining exclusive rights over this data, innovator companies can prevent their competitors from obtaining marketing licence for low-cost versions during the tenure of this exclusivity.

An expert on the IPR said that the issue can not be discussed at the bilateral level.

"Developed countries are pressing hard the developing countries to liberalise norms to grant patents. However, bilateral forums are not the right place to discuss these things," National Intellectual Property Organisation Director T C James said.

India and the four-nation bloc has started the negotiations for the free trade agreement (FTA) in 2007 and both the sides have completed 13-14 rounds of talks till now.

Recently, the Swiss government has said that the negotiations for the pact are expected to concluded by 2014.

Further, India is expected to get greater market access in services sector in those four countries besides in textile.

"EFTA members manufactures high-end products and India needs that," the official added.

The objective of the FTA is to reduce trade tariffs for mutual benefit.

Two-way trade between India and EFTA stood at $34.48 billion in 2012-13 as against USD 37.5 billion in 2011-12.

Post new comment

E-mail ID will not be published
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

  • India needs to think quick and act fast to crank up its crude reserves

    With China overtaking the US in crude oil imports in April with imports at 7.4 million barrels per day, its thirst for building reserves and proving i

FC NEWSLETTER

Stay informed on our latest news!

INTERVIEWS

Sarthak Raychaudhuri

vice-president, HR, Asia South Whirlpool of India

GV Nageswara Rao

MD & CEO, IDBI Federal Life

Timothy Moe

Goldman Sachs

TODAY'S COLUMNS

Arun Kumar Jain

Politics has to be about problem solving

One of the most common sights every morning at major ...

Kuruvilla Pandikattu SJ

Start meditating to preserve grey matter

Since 1970, life expectancy around the world has risen dramatically, ...

Gautam Gupta

It’s ethnic wear all the way in Indian fashion

India is one of the most diverse countries in the ...

INTERVIEWS

William D. Green

Chairman & CEO, Accenture