In the previous sections we have discussed about the genesis of WTO, its timeline, criticism, Doha Round and Agreement on Agriculture. Now we will discuss other aspects of WTO Negotiations under Doha Agenda. For previous lectures follow the below links:
Part - 1 (click here)
Part - 2 (click here)
Part - 3 (click here)
Non Agricultural Market Access:
NAMA refers to all products not covered by the Agreement on Agriculture. In other words, in practice, it includes manufacturing products, fuels and mining products, fish and fish products, and forestry products. They are sometimes referred to as industrial products or manufactured goods. It aims to eliminate or reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers that impede trade between countries.
NAMA products account for 90% of all the world merchandise exports.
As per the July Package of 2004, less than full reciprocity principle (LTFR Principle) has been adopted.
Countries reduce tariff based on Swiss formula which is a non-linear formula i.e. different countries will need to reduce tariff's differently. Differentiation is on the basis of development of the nation. So, developed nations will need to cut tariff more than others while Least developed countries will not need to cut tariffs.
Developed nations are offensive about NAMA negotiations as they are able to safeguard themselves even after cutting tariff barriers by applying non-tariff barriers on the basis of Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures. Developing nations are defensive as Custom duty is an important source of revenue for them which can be utilised by them for ensuring their development.
There is limited negotiation on service sector at WTO. Most of the negotiation on service sector is bilateral or plurilateral for improving market conditions for trade in services.
WTO negotiations on Trade in services happen under four modes:
Mode 1: Cross border trade
Mode 2: Consumption abroad
Mode 3: Commercial presence
Example: Banking, Insurance, corporates etc.
Interested Parties: Developed nations.
Mode 4: Movement of Natural Persons
Example: Engineers, Doctors, Scientists etc.
Interested Parties: India is offensive while developed nations are defensive.
Intellectual Property Rights:
Negotiations on IPR at WTO occur under the TRIPS guidelines.
Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
Developing nations have been defensive on IPR issues while developed nations are offensive.
IPR classification is given below:
Indian Stand on IPR at WTO:
India is especially criticised at WTO for its Pharmaceutical sector which is a beneficiary of lax IPR regime of India. However, Indian IPR regime is in line with TRIPS agreement since 2005.
India has banned ever-greening of patent especially after the famous Novartis case in which Supreme court of India banned ever-greening of patents.
Note: “Evergreening,” is referred to the practice whereby pharmaceutical firms extend the patent life of a drug by obtaining additional 20-year patents for minor reformulations or other iterations of the drug, without necessarily increasing the therapeutic efficacy.
India also promotes Compulsory licensing of drugs which is criticised by USA. Compulsory licensing is when a government allows someone else to produce the patented product or process without the consent of the patent owner. Developed countries wants compulsory licensing to be restricted to only domestic purpose and thus are against export of Generic drugs.
However, a high level UN Panel on access to medicine, 2016, has stressed on the importance of using flexibilities in the TRIPS pact to achieve universal access to medicine. This has been in favour of India's stand at WTO on IPR.