New Delhi: India and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday vowed to push for the resolution of contentious issues related to trade in services and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, at the ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) this month.
The pledge came a day after commerce minister Kamal Nath met EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson in London. The WTO meeting, that begins in Geneva on 21 July, will focus on issues related to agricultural and non-agricultural market access.
EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson (Photo by: Daniel Mihalescu/AFP)
“We (India and the EU) are determined to ensure that ministerial engagement on services is substantial and leads to strong future offers (of market access),” the two sides said in a joint statement released by the commerce ministry in New Delhi.
Experts such as Suparna Karmakar, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based think tank International Council of Research on International Economic Relations, said the joint commitment is unlikely to boost India’s chances of getting contentious issues resolved to its liking during the Geneva meeting.
“For example, the EU offers very restrictive entry for service professionals (from countries such as India),” she added.
India’s gains in services trade lie in increased market openings in the developed countries for its service professionals such as software engineers.
“We want concrete assurance on trade in services as well as inclusion of the ‘disclosure proposal’ under TRIPS as part of the overall ministerial guidance,” a senior commerce ministry official said on condition of anonymity:
The inclusion of a disclosure proposal will mean that a patent applicant in a developed nation will have to reveal the country of origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge used in inventions.