India not to dilute stand on intellectual property

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said this should be India's position as he chaired the meeting of the Trade and Economic Relations Committee, according to a statement released here Saturday.

“It was observed that concern has been raised by various quarters about the Indian stand on issues on intellectual property rights, especially in the context of the Indian pharmaceutical products,” said the statement.

“The prime minister firmly directed that the Indian side shall not take on any obligation beyond the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights agreement and domestic law,” the statement from his office added.

The committee includes Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Economic Advisory Council Chairman C. Rangarajan.

Among other matters, the meeting reviewed the status of the India-EU Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement and the various issues involved in the talks, apart from the proposed trade pact with Australia and countries in southern Africa.

“The committee also considered the proposal for a joint study group to examine the policy framework for enhancing the bilateral economic relationship between India and the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa - Comesa,” said the statement.

“It was observed that bilateral trade between India and Comesa has shown good growth during the last five years and the trade balance continues to be in our favour.”

With regards to Australia, the panel felt while economic activity in each country had led to substantial growth in bilateral trade, tariffs and non-tariff barriers continued to raise the cost of imports, imposing implicit taxes on businesses and consumers alike.

“A comprehensive free trade pact between Australia and India will benefit both countries and provide impetus to economic activity and economic welfare in each economy. The committee approval to the launch of the negotiations with Australia.”

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