News: Panruti cashews are unique in nature because of the taste and quality. GI tagging of Panruti cashews would not only provide a fillip to the industry but would also enhance the secondary economic activities in the region and safeguard the interests of farmers and cashew exporters from the region.
About the Geographical Indication Tag:
A geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country).
The use of a geographical indication, as an indication of the product’s source, acts as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a good reputation due to its geographical origin.
Appellation d’origine contrôlée (‘Appellation of origin’) is a sub-type of geographical indication where quality, method, and reputation of a product originate from a strictly defined area specified in its intellectual property right registration.
The use of geographical indications is not limited to agricultural products. A geographical indication may also highlight specific qualities of a product that are due to human factors found in the product’s place of origin, such as specific manufacturing skills and traditions. For example handicrafts, which are generally handmade using local natural resources and usually embedded in the traditions of local communities.
Geographical Indications protection is granted through the TRIPS Agreement.
About TRIPS Agreement:
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It establishes minimum standards for the regulation by national governments of different forms of intellectual property (IP) as applied to nationals of other WTO member nations.
TRIPS was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) between 1989 and 1990 and is administered by the WTO.
The TRIPS agreement introduced intellectual property law into the multilateral trading system for the first time and remains the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property to date.
In 2001, developing countries, concerned that developed countries were insisting on an overly narrow reading of TRIPS, initiated a round of talks that resulted in the Doha Declaration.
The Doha declaration is a WTO statement that clarifies the scope of TRIPS, stating for example that TRIPS can and should be interpreted in light of the goal “to promote access to medicines for all.”
Specifically, TRIPS requires WTO members to provide copyright rights, covering authors and other copyright holders, as well as holders of related rights, namely performers, sound recording producers and broadcasting organisations; geographical indications; industrial designs; integrated circuit layout-designs; patents; new plant varieties; trademarks; trade names and undisclosed or confidential information.
TRIPS also specifies enforcement procedures, remedies, and dispute resolution procedures. Protection and enforcement of all intellectual property rights shall meet the objectives to contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations.
2. INDIA – UAE COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
News: After a fast tracked three month negotiation between India and UAE, both countries on February 18 signed an FTA pact, during a virtual summit.
The CEPA is a bilateral trade pact that will cover over a period of time 90% of India’s exports as well as services which is expected to boom by $15 billion in the coming five years.
The deal also has strong anti-dumping measures and rules of origin clauses.
The India-UAE economic relation at present is shaped by remittances.
The remittances are expected to rise with full economic recovery of the UAE’s post-pandemic economy.
The FTA will also help in increasing remittances as Indian investments in UAE will bring more Indian employees into the Gulf country.
This will include leather, processed agriculture and dairy products, handicrafts, gems and jewellery, furniture, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, engineering products and nearly the entire spectrum of items produced by the Indian economy. Apart from the goods sector, it will also include the services sector.
The deal has strong anti-dumping measures integrated into it which will prevent any country from dumping its products into the Indian market by using the route of the UAE.
He also said that the document has very strong rules of origin clauses that will disallow any country to export goods to India taking advantage of relaxed tariff on the Indian side.
An official source mentioned that India wants 40% value addition into a product from a third country before it could be exported to India through UAE.
India-UAE economic ties are marked by the flow of remittances from the oil rich Gulf country to India. The country hosts at least 3 million Indians who work in diverse sectors of the economy of the Emirates and provides it with vital manpower support at all levels.
According to a study, 82% of India’s total remittances originated from seven countries that included Gulf countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. In 2019, India received $83 billion from the Gulf region. The figure was marginally affected in 2020 when large number of Indian workers returned home because of pandemic related economic distress.
The India-UAE economic relation at present is shaped by the remittances that remain much greater than the $60 billion bilateral trade. The remittances are expected to rise with full economic recovery of the UAE’s post-pandemic economy.
The FTA will allow goods from UAE, especially the famed dates of UAE to enter India. Most of the Indian exports similarly will benefit from the “zero tariff” that UAE is expected to grant. This move will allow increased visibility of Indian products in the UAE.
The reduction in tariff for Indian jewellery and gems will allow it to enter the UAE in greater volume.
About Western Quad:
The western Quad consisting of Israel, India, UAE and the United States has been a regional factor ever since it was convened last October which was followed by a ministerial meeting of the four countries.
The western quad is marked by the diplomatic breakthroughs between Israel and the United Arab Emirates which recently hosted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
It is understood that UAE as part of its post pandemic recovery plans is planning to revitalise its trade links with the region from the Mediterranean coast to Turkey on one hand and India and South Asia on the other.
USA and the UAE are among the biggest trading partners of India, and Israel is among the top technology support providers for India.
All four are connected by currents of security and trade.
3. MONEY LAUNDERING
News: The draconian PMLA of 2002 has evolved as the Government’s “hatchet” law in recent years, considering the series of raids and arrests of politicians, their relatives, and activists, most of them who are critical of the ruling regime.
About Prevention of Money Laundering Act:
The Act was enacted in a 2002 response to India’s global commitment (including the Vienna Convention) to combat the menace of money laundering.
The statement of objects and reasons of the PMLA Bill of 1999 refers to various international conventions and instruments dealing primarily with money laundering related to crimes involving drugs and narcotics.
These include the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988; the Basle Statement of Principles, 1989; the Forty Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, 1990; the Political Declaration and Global Program of Action adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990; the Resolution passed at the UN Special Session on countering World Drug Problem Together, etc.
PMLA was a comprehensive penal statute to counter the threat of money laundering, specifically stemming from trade in narcotics. Currently, the offences in the schedule of the Act are extremely overbroad, and in several cases, have absolutely no relation to either narcotics or organised crime.
About Vienna Convention:
It was the first major initiative in the prevention of money laundering held in December 1988.
This convention laid down the groundwork for efforts to combat money laundering by obliging the member states to criminalize the laundering of money from drug trafficking.
It promotes international cooperation in investigations and makes extradition between member states applicable to money laundering.
The convention also establishes the principle that domestic bank secrecy provisions should not interfere with international criminal investigations.