CCFI raises concerns on inclusion of TRIPS-Plus IP Protection in the Free Trade Agreement
Guest Author: Mr. Harish Mehta, Senior Advisor, Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI)
17 June 2022, New Delhi: Indian agrochemicals industry, similar to Indian pharmaceutical industry is a leader in production and export of a variety of generic agrochemicals. Indian companies export generic agrochemicals to over 135 countries in the world.
The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) of the WTO comes with harmonized standards of protection that each WTO member country has to give to the IP of fellow WTO members.
The TRIPS Agreement sets out the multilaterally agreed standards for all the intellectual property rights (IPRs) including patents, copyrights, industrial designs, etc. Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) being an apex trade body for the Indian agrochemicals industry is quite concerned with the pressure brought on by the EU, USA, Japan etc. for including TRIPS-Plus Intellectual Property measures in the Free Trade Agreements (FTA).
The term “TRIPS-Plus or WTO-Plus measures” refers to the standards that provide protection of intellectual property rights much higher than the requirements mentioned in the WTO-TRIPS Agreement.
The TRIPS -Plus/WTO-Plus measures for IP rights include, among others, the following:
- Patent term extension beyond 20 years.
- Providing data exclusivity and market exclusivity.
- Providing measures to facilitate “evergreening” of the patents.
These TRIPS-Plus/WTO-plus measures focus mainly on generic pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals in which India has gained global prominence.
India has a well-established generic agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals industry that produces for the domestic and export markets. Together they account for 50% of India’s chemical export and earn the valuable trade surplus from the international trade. CCFI is opposed to India giving in to the demands from the western countries to allow TRIPS Plus measures in the FTAs under negations with UK, EU, Japan and others.
TRIPS-Plus measures, if incorporated in the FTAs, would only serve the proprietary interests of the corporates in the developed countries far beyond what is allowed under the TRIPS Agreement. This would result in grave economic and social costs to India.
Other countries which rely on India’s export will also suffer as TRIPS Plus measures will increase the cost of India’s off patent – generic medicines and pesticides. It will considerably erode the export competitiveness of our generic versions in the field of agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals.
TRIPS-Plus measures would weaken ‘Atmanirbhar’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives of the Indian government.CCFI has prepared a policy advocacy paper entitled “TRIPS-Plus/WTO – Plus IP protection measures will be detrimental to the Indian economy”and submitted to the policy makers.