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Out of cycle review is a futile exercise: FICCI

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Washington, Nov 6 (PTI) The out-of-cycle review launched by the US against India is a “futile exercise” as leaders of the two countries have set up an Intellectual Property Working Group, FICCI has said.

“FICCI is of the view that in light of the annual high-level Intellectual Property (IP) Working Group being constituted as part of Trade Policy Review, the Out of Cycle review is a futile exercise, undermining the understanding reached between Barack Obama and Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the US,” FICC said on Wednesday.

The US last month launched a review of India’s Intellectual Property Regime, in which the focus is to measure the engagement that New Delhi has pursued in terms of intellectual property.

In its 26-page submission, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) argues that allegations against Indian IP system are unfounded and present an objective picture of the continuing improvements being undertaken in strengthening the IP regime.

Referring to the September visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, FICCI said the two countries agreed on the need to foster innovation in a manner that promoted economic growth and job creation.

The leaders committed to establish an annual high-level IP Working Group with appropriate decision-making and technical-level meetings as part of the Trade Policy Forum, FICCI said in its submission to the US Trade Representative.

Modi and Obama recognised in particular the contribution of the Indian and the US Information Technology (IT) industry and the IT-enabled service industry in strengthening India-US trade and investment relations, it said.

FICCI said Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on September 8 that the government would come out with a policy framework in the next few months that will help protect India’s interest on matters related to intellectual property rights (IPR) and deal with issues raised by developed countries.

FICCI said a strong IPR regime is considered complementary to the “Make in India” concept as many global companies, especially transnational pharma majors from the US and EU, have long said that they could set up manufacturing and R&D facilities in India, provided the IPR regime was strengthened.

India has committed to a comprehensive IPR policy in 6 months to address concerns of developed nations while safeguarding India’s interests and set up a think tank to keep itself informed about latest IPR issues as well as to help it handle them proactively, it said.

Arguing that Indian IP laws are in full compliance with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, FICCI said Indian policy is driven by Public Interest and Health Care.

“Due to immense poverty and inaccessible health care in India, Compulsory License and Section 3(d) of Patent Act must be viewed as protective and not restrictive,” it said.

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