India to sign Russia's WTO accession pact

Updated on Jan 26, 2006 12:50 PM IST

Any new country wanting to become a member has to negotiate its accession protocol with all members separately.

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None | ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi

India will sign Moscow's World Trade Organisation accession protocol on February 6 during the visit of Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister Gherman Gref.

India may have to wait a little longer for resolution of trademarks and geographical indications (GIs) issues with Russia as the accession protocol is unlikely to include these issues.

The issue of recognition to India's GIs and trademarks would now be resolved at inter-governmental level, official sources said.

There are currently 149 WTO members. The tiny island nation of Tonga is going to be the 150th member. With India agreeing to sign the protocol, Russia is well on its way to become the 151st member of the global trade body.

According to the rules, any new country wanting to become a WTO member has to negotiate its accession protocol with all the current members separately.

As part of these negotiations, an aspiring WTO member has to offer certain concessions, just like China, who had to accept textiles quotas in the US and European Union even though they were dismantled in 2005.

New Delhi's GIs like Darjeeling tea and its trademark lady with a tea basket is being used by local traders in Russia to sell tea that does not originate in India.

India has been pressing the Russian Government to recognise the GIs and trademarks with both retrospective and prospective effect as it is very keen on tea exports.

While Russia agreed to do it prospectively as part of the accession agreement, sources said they were reluctant on the retrospective aspect, which alone could check the prevalent misuse of the Darjeeling trademark there.

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