India working with UK on intellectual property rights: Piyush Goyal
India is working with the UK and other economies on the issue of intellectual property (IP) rights and modernisation in an effort to improve Indian protocols, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has said.
The minister said this at a gathering in London on Wednesday evening of Indian-origin chartered accountants from the UK chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI).
Goyal was in London this week amidst the India-UK talks for a free trade agreement.
The minister covered a range of topics including IP rights and corporation tax to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).
He said the process to harmonise with international standards was high on New Delhi’s agenda because integrating with world thinking on standards and IP was important for a fast-paced growth of the Indian economy.
“With the UK we are working on IP rights or IP modernisation. Our effort is to improve the Indian protocols around intellectual property rights and areas associated with it, but I feel it will have to be a little more gradual process,” he said.
“Similarly, we are working very actively on quality standards in India. The BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) for non-food products and FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) on food products are trying to develop standards.
“Wherever is possible, we are trying to harmonise also with international standards. But it is not possible in everything… we are roughly at about 90 per cent of our standards harmonised with what is generally accepted standards.
“But I can assure you we are conscious that if we have to develop our economy at a fast pace, well also have to integrate ourselves with the world thinking on standards, on intellectual property.
“Though it may be a process, we are moving very rapidly and hoping to become a preferred destination for other countries. So, it is very high on our agenda,” he added.
Goyal predicted that over the next three or four years, Indian standards will be world class and accepted globally.
Without going into the ongoing India-UK free trade agreement (FTA), on which negotiations are on, he mentioned wider consultations were necessary over the issue of transfer pricing.
“There was no written rule or unwritten rule that any one geography or one set of people are honest and the other set is dishonest… So, transfer pricing will remain an issue by issue, case by case subject. There can’t be a one size fits all,” he said.
He said India’s corporate tax levels were at a comparable level vis-à-vis the world and had been reduced significantly over the last nine years.
Goyal met his British counterpart Kemi Badenoch to build the momentum behind the free trade agreement process.
The commerce ministry said considerable progress was achieved during their “frank and open discussions on various difficult issues”.
(With agency inputs)