Policy soon to protect Indian IPRs, says Paswan

New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) A national policy to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) of Indian companies is on the anvil, union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday.

“India’s role as an economic powerhouse is linked to its ability to ensure that IPRs are protected with rules, and enforcement of laws and regulations,” he said at an international conference on ‘Illicit trade – threat to national security and economy’ here.

Asserting that India’s views on IP rights and enforcement were important to its trading partners and investors, Paswan said the commerce ministry had taken many steps to protect consumers, as they have to be aware of the commercial, health and security aspects of goods traded.

“As India takes its place as a major economic power, its views on IP rights and enforcement will be important to trading partners and investors,” he said at the day-long conference organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industrys’ committee against smuggling and counterfeiting activities destroying economy, to facilitate a dialogue among stakeholders on unfair trade practices and create awareness about their adverse impact.

“We have initiated mechanisms to ensure consumer safety and check unfair trade practices. We should empower consumers to seek discontinuance of unfair trade practices, defects or deficiencies in services, and stop services or withdraw hazardous goods from the market,” Paswan noted.

Noting that value of ‘India made’ IP was increasing due to technology, invention and innovation, he cautioned stakeholders that counterfeits and fakes posed a threat to the country’s growth strategy.

Stressing on structured dialogue between businesses and enforcement agencies to counter menace of illicit trade, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) chairman Najib Shah lamented that businesses were not keen on registering their IPRs, which were essential to check violators.

“Tobacco, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and auto parts were rampant among counterfeit products in the Indian market,” he said.

With e-commerce emerging as a major channel for illicit trade, the CBEC has organised a conference here on February 2 to discuss the need for a voluntary code of practices by its e-tailers.

Referring to the nexus between illicit trade and terrorism, Ficci panel chairman Anil Rajput said sources of terror group IS’ funding were illicit trade oil, antiquities, cigarettes and a host of products they manage to barter.

A joint publication with Grant Thornton on ‘Emerging challenges to legitimate business in the borderless world’ was released on the occasion.

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