NEW DELHI: After the Congress had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of compromising India’s position on intellectual property rights(IPR), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a detailed clarification, denying that India’s position had been compromised in any manner.
Talking to Express on Friday, Minister of State for Commerce and Trade, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “The Congress is spreading canards. No such compromise has been done. They are presenting the issue in a false manner.”
Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry in a statement asserted that India had consistently pointed out that the IPR legal regime in India was fully TRIPS-compliant and that any issues had to be discussed in bilateral forums, like the Trade Policy Forum. India has refused to be subjected to unilateral action proposed by the US under the Special 301 report, an annual report on IPR under the US Trade Act, it added.
According to the Commerce Ministry release, the US’ willingnesss to discuss the IPR issues through the bilateral mechanism of the Trade Policy Forum (TPF) was in fact a re-affirmation of India’s stand that the issue needed bilateral discussion and not unilateral action.
The statement on the IPR issue would only strengthen the bilateral institutional mechanism, it pointed out.
Congress spokesperson and former Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said the PM had capped his US visit with a major concession to the US, just like he started it, by opening the gates for a rise in the price of essential drugs.
The joint statement issued after the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi mentioned the disturbing bit about a joint task force on IPR, Sharma said, adding, “This is a major compromise on our consistently held position that India is TRIPS-compliant and would not discuss IPR in any bilateral forum.” Sharma also said India was under global pressure on IPR, but the previous governments staved off the developed world.
“It is a compromise,” he said.
Refuting the charge, the Commerce Ministry said, “Agreeing on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promotes economic growth and job creation, the leaders have committed to establish an annual high level IP Working Group with appropriate decision making and technical level meetings, as a part of the TPF”.
The statement on US-India TPF was signed by the then Commerce and Industries Minister in March 2010 with his US counterpart.