|India's foreign trade policy 2020-2025 is expected to roll out early in 2020. The mandate is to accelerate exports from current $331 billion to $1 trillion. Geographical Indicators (GI) can be one of the most crucial and pragmatic instruments to achieve this target.|
|The WTO Members and their nationals are progressively recognising that geographical-indicators are valuable marketing tools in the global economy. Basically, GIs, let's goods be identified as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods on the basis of location, thereby attaching a quality and reputation. This definition flows from Article 22.1 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).|
|The concept emerged after certain countries started counterfeiting products for quick profits, thereby tarnishing the image of genuine products. This translated into a loss for producers and consumers both.|
|A few examples of international Geographical Indicators include champagne (France), port wine (Portugal), etivaz and gruyere Cheese. (Switzerland), Idaho potatoes (USA), Vidalia Onions (USA) Darjeeling tea (India), Long-Ging Tea (China) and Jasmine Rice (Thailand).|
|A few more include cheese and wine-spirits, meat and meat products like ham and salmon followed by oil and fat products such as olive oil. Many food processing industries, like cocoa and chocolate and tea processing are reaping the benefits of the GI policy.|
|There is 'unequal provision or treatment' meted out to developing countries; as a result, they are unable to capitalise their true potential. GIs are a type of industrial property that identifies a good as originating from a particular place, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the good are essentially attributable to its geographical origin.|
|Much like trademarks, the economic rationale of GI is based on the 'information asymmetry' between buyers and sellers in the market and the role of reputation, conveyed through distinctive signs, in tackling such asymmetry.|
|Thus, GI acts as a signalling device helping the producers to differentiate their products from competing products in the market and enabling them to build a reputation and goodwill around their products, which often fetch a premium price.|
|For instance, champagne originated from a place in France and has been recognised as a product whose reputation for quality or authenticity is intimately linked to its geographical origin. The product has not only emerged a major product in its export basket but also helps in promotion of tourism and cultural heritage.|
|Such examples are aplenty in India such as Kanjeevaram silk sarees, Pochampally Ikat. They can very well contribute to exports and popularity. What needs to be re-emphasised and negotiated is to provide such protection and equal treatment to developing countries like India whereby they can contribute to its foreign exchange as well as protect its exclusiveness, heritage and traditional skills of making such products.|
|The issue has gathered momentum with the recognition of the TRIPS, whose full form is X on GIs as a form of IPR. This adequately enhanced the marketability of these products, and demonstrated that GIs have great potential to play a major role in trade between countries.|
|This further increased the commercial significance of GIs which were not aware to many developing countries like India. It is at the same time not to say that GIs were insignificant in trade earlier. Quite to the contrary, the immense revenue potential of GIs necessitated their cross-border protection and thus these were included in the ambit of the TRIPS Agreement.|
|The Article 22 of the Agreement, which forms the centrality of GI protection, provides for a general level of cross-border protection of GIs in the course of trade, which is extended to India and other developing countries. However, what distinguishes developed countries from India is a special provision. This provision was made under Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement for protection of GIs in the form of wines and spirits.|
|The major demandeurs of this kind of protection were the European countries with their very long tradition in making of wines and spirits. This special treatment to wines and spirits appears to be developed country-centric. Developing countries, including India, have raised this issue in the Doha Round and in the recent meetings at the WTO. They seek the same higher level of protection for all GIs as was given under Article 23 for wines and spirits.|
A) They attach quality and reputation
B) India is the only country to have access to GIs.
C) Geographical indicators do not give a boost to exports from any country.
D) Geographical indicators are just indicators of the origin.
Correct Answer: A
Solution :Rationale: (a) The WTO Members and their nationals are progressively recognising that geographical indicators are valuable marketing tools in the global economy. Basically, GIs, lets goods be identified as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods on the basis of location, thereby attaching a quality and reputation.
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