India is now more strategic in its trade policies: Tai

India is now more strategic in its trade policies: Tai
Posted on 07-06-2022

India is now more strategic in its trade policies: Tai

In News:

  • S. Trade Rep. (USTR) Katherine Tai said she expected India to engage in "intentionality" at the 12th ministerial conference (MC12) of the WTO.

What's in Today's Article:

  • World Trade Organization (WTO) Structure and functions and TRIPS
  • News Summary

In Focus: World Trade Organization (WTO)

  • WTO is the sole global organization that deals with rules for commerce between countries.
  • The aim is to assist the producers of goods as well as services, entrepreneurs and importers manage their business.
  • WTO is a place that allows governments to discuss trade agreements. It also serves as a venue to resolve trade disputes.
  • It was founded through the Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94) and has its headquarters in Geneva.


  • The WTO is comprised of 164 countries which account for 98% of global trade. There are 25 countries that are in negotiations to join.
  • The decisions are made by the whole membership. The majority of the time, this is done through consensus.
  • The WTO's most important decision decision-making organ is called the Ministerial conference which usually meets every two years.


  • In charge of trade agreements
  • Serving as a venue to conduct trade discussions
  • Settlement of trade dispute
  • Reviewing trade policies in the nation's trade policy
  • Strengthening the trade capabilities of emerging economies

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

  • The WTO Agreement on TRIPS is the most comprehensive multilateral treaty on Intellectual Property (IP).
  • The agreement came into force on 1 January 1995. . It establishes basic standards for the security and protection of rights to intellectual property in member states.
    • Intellectual Property Rights are the rights given to persons/agencies for their creativity/innovations.
    • They usually grant the creator an exclusive rights over the use of their creation for a specified amount of time.

Area that is covered by the agreement

  • The domains of intellectual property it encompasses include:
    • copyright and other rights (i.e. the rights of producers, performers of sound recordings, as well as broadcasting companies);
    • trademarks, including service marks;
    • Geographical indications and appellations that include the place of origin;
    • industrial designs;
    • Patents, which include protection for the protection of
    • the designs of the layouts of integrated circuits and
    • unreleased information such as tests and trade secrets results.

News Summary

  • With just a few days until the WTO is scheduled to hold its 12th ministerial meeting, USTR, Katherine Tai stated that she anticipates India to participate with a sense of purpose at the meeting.

India's policy towards trade and the WTO

  • Many critics draw attention to the issue that India didn't have an impressive track record of making a difference to the ministerial conferences of the WTO.
  • According to the report, India is a tough negotiator. Its stance frequently leaves no room for negotiations.
  • But, many analysts believe India is in control of its own thoughts and is becoming more proactive in regards to trade.

The most important issues in of the MC12

  • TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) waiver for COVID-19 vaccinations and therapeutics
    • The possibility of a waiver of certain restrictions on intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines was discussed between South Africa, India, the United States, and the European Union.
    • South Africa and India tabled the agreement in front of the World Trade Organization in October 2020.
  • Duty on e-commerce
    • India would like customs duties to be that are applied to e-commerce.
    • It is said that the moratorium that is in place from 1998 has negatively the developing world by reducing their revenues.
      • In the early days of e-commerce, it was the beginning of its development In September 1998, the work programme for online commerce was adopted at the General Council of the WTO.
      • As part of the program, WTO members agreed to refrain from imposition of customs duties regarding electronic data transmission.
      • This moratorium on customs duty has been renewed on a regular basis at every Ministerial Conference.
    • Due to the rapid growth of e-commerce it is becoming increasingly likely that emerging countries, such as India are becoming importers and therefore losing in Customs duties.
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