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February 28, 2000
WTO commitments stay, domestic sector to be protected
The government has reiterated its commitments to the World Trade Organisation regime and will reduce tariffs to the bound levels by the end of March in respect of non-agricultural and non-textile items, but would get four bills passed in Parliament to protect domestic industry and trade.
The Economic Survey 1999-2000, laid in Parliament today, enlisted that the government has already introduced bills to seek extension of the copyright and related rights for India from 20 years under WTO to 50 years, for lay-out designs of integrated circuits from 10 years to 20 years and to secure protection for patents and industrial designs.
Already, the Patents (Amendments) Act, 1999 has been passed by Parliament to accord exclusive marketing rights to Indian products for which product patents had been obtained after January 1, 1995.
The Trademarks and Merchandise Act 1957 was amended in December 1999 to provide protection to service marks.
The domestic geographical indications were given protection through an amendment to the provisions of the TRIPS agreement in December last year.
But the government awaits the WTO decision on the developing countries' assertion about transitional period for dividend balancing requirements in the case of investment and production of certain pharmaceutical products after the inconclusive Seattle ministerial conference last year.
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