INDIA said it is working with the UK and several other countries to modernise its intellectual property (IP) standards.
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the process to harmonise India’s protocols with international standards is “high on our agenda” for the fast-paced growth of the country’s economy.
Goyal attended a gathering of Indian-origin chartered accountants (CAs) from the UK Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) in London on Wednesday (12).
“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,” Goyal said.
“We are working very actively on quality standards in India. The BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) for non-food products and the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) on food products are trying to develop standards. Wherever it’s possible, we are trying to harmonise also with international standards. But it’s not possible in everything… We are roughly at about 90 per cent of our standards harmonised with what is generally accepted standards,” he said.
The minister – a qualified chartered accountant – said India was conscious that it would have to integrate itself “with the world thinking on standards on intellectual property” for the country’s economy to grow.
“Though it may be a process, we are moving very rapidly and hoping to become a preferred destination for other countries. So, it’s very high on our agenda,” he added. Goyal forecast that over the next three or four years, Indian standards would be seen as world-class.
While he veered away from any direct reference to the ongoing India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) while “negotiations are on”, the minister said the issue of transfer pricing emerged as part of efforts to find wider solutions in the trade talks.
“There is 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 and there can’t be a one size fits all,” he said.
The minister said the corporate tax rates were reduced significantly in the last nine years.
“We have been successful through G20 in getting the world to bring in a minimum corporate tax of 15 per cent,” he noted.
Goyal, who was in the UK on a three-day visit which coincided with the 11th round of FTA negotiations with the UK, met his British counterpart Kemi Badenoch to build momentum behind the process.
The Indian Commerce Ministry said in a statement that “considerable progress was achieved during their frank and open discussions on various difficult issues”.