India-EU trade accord on anvil, ‘no compromise’ on IPR (Second Lead)By Sarwar Kashani, IANS
Thursday, December 9, 2010
BRUSSELS -India and Europe are about to conclude a key free trade pact but there would be no compromise on intellectual property rights in the agreement that is expected to give a fillip to business ties between the two sides, official sources said here Thursday.
Essentially the decks have been cleared (for finalising the agreement), said an official who has been closely monitoring the negotiation process over the accord that will increase the business volume between the two to 100 billion euros from 70 billion euros at present.
The pact was to be wrapped before the 11th annual India-EU summit that is being held in Brussels Friday and wil be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who arrived here Thursday evening.
But the negotiations on some contentious issues, like intellectual property rights, were holding back finalisation of the accord.
The official said many of the items which were being negotiated for the free trade agreement (FTA) have been all but concluded and understanding reached.
This includes matters such as intellectual property rights…It is absolutely crystal clear that there will be no compromise (on that), the official said.
The sources said India will ensure that the comprehensive bilateral investment and trade agreement will not result in a regime far more stringent than the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Under TRIPS, off-patent generic medicines can be manufactured and exported anywhere in the world. However, the EU regulations insist on an extra binding regime.
The EU has indicated that it was open to changing the regulation on generic drug seizures, the sources said.
Several non-government organisations in India and in Europe had raised concerns about the impact on affordable medicines.
Negotiations on many items in the FTA have all but concluded. The planned agreement concerns 11 subjects.
The official said the two sides will make the announcement at the summit that the deal will be inked by Easter or March or April 2011.
A report on the progress of the negotiations is also likely at the summit.
(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)