India, EU to resolve generic drug dispute, says Anand Sharma

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New Delhi, Nov 7 (ANI): Trade Minister Anand Sharma has said that India will resolve a dispute with the European Union over generic drugs in an amicable way.

"In India-EU summit we have discussed this and all other issues and we both are committed to resolving outstanding matters amicably," Sharma told reporters after the talks with EU officials here on Friday.

Sharma said the shipment of drugs was consistent with WTO regulations.

"These shipments were for third countries and therefore there was no violations either of the ... agreement because they are very much in conformity with the existing GATS provisions as well as the existing WTO agreements," he added.

He pointed out that there has been a major dilemma in trade and intellectual property policy-how to reconcile the provision of affordable medicine to people in poor countries with the need to encourage medical research through patent protection.

Sharma was joined at a press conference by the Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling and EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, who said officials on both sides were meeting later in November to resolve the dispute.

Ashton played down differences but said a trade pact should tie in with efforts on climate change as well as spur growth in jobs and businesses.

"We are collaborating to make sure that everything we are doing to promote trade is also co-supporting our economies and through our economies, our people, to give them great opportunities for jobs, great opportunities for business to make sure that everything we do supports our ambitions on the environment, so it is not really about one side in a sense making another side do anything, this is how we develop our negotiations together," Ashton said.

India and the EU, India's biggest trade partner, met in New Delhi this week with a potentially lucrative free trade deal and the slow-moving Doha trade talks also high on the agenda.

A Free Trade Agreement has been under negotiation since 2007, and the EU estimates such a deal could help bilateral trade cross 237 dollars billion by 2015.

The EU has linked the talks to India's environmental performance, intellectual property rights and sensitive issues such as child labour. India has said it wants to keep the focus of the talks on trade. (ANI)

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