“Work is underway with a number of economies, including the UK, on intellectual property (IP) rights and modernization with the aim of improving Indian protocols,” said the Minister for Trade and of Union Industry, Piyush Goyal.
Answering questions from a gathering of Chartered Accountants (CAs) of Indian descent from the UK branch of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) following his visit to London on Wednesday evening, the Minister – a CA qualified – has covered a range of topics from intellectual property rights and corporate taxation to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).
He said the process of harmonization with international standards was high on the government’s agenda as integration with global thinking on standards and intellectual property was important for the rapid growth of the Indian economy.
“With the UK, we are working on intellectual property rights or the modernization of intellectual property. Our effort is to improve Indian protocols regarding intellectual property rights and related areas, but I think that will have to be a bit more gradual process,” Goyal said.
“Similarly, we are working very actively on quality standards in India. BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) for non-food items and FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) for food items are trying to develop standards. Wherever possible, we also try to harmonize with international standards. But that’s not possible in all…we’re roughly about 90% of our standards harmonized with generally accepted standards,” he said.
“But I can assure you that we are aware that if we are to develop our economy at a rapid pace, we will also have to integrate into the global thinking on standards, on intellectual property. Although it may be a process, we are moving very quickly and hope to become a preferred destination for other countries. So it is very important in our agenda,” he added.
The minister predicted that in the next three or four years, Indian standards will be considered world-class and accepted worldwide.
While he moved away from any direct reference to the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the UK as “negotiations are ongoing”, the Minister mentioned that the transfer pricing was one of the issues that had emerged in the context of efforts to find broader solutions. solutions in trade negotiations.
“There is no written rule or unwritten rule that one geography or group of people is honest and the other is dishonest… so transfer pricing will remain on an issue-by-issue, case-by-case basis and there can be no problem one size fits all,” he said.
When asked about corporate tax levels in India, the Minister made it clear that Indian rates were at a comparable level after being cut significantly over the past nine years.
“We succeeded through the G20 in getting the world to introduce a minimum corporate tax of 15%,” he noted.
Goyal, who was in the UK for a three-day visit which coincided with the 11th round of FTA negotiations with the UK, met his British counterpart Kemi Badenoch to give impetus to the process. The Department of Commerce issued a statement after the meeting to say that “considerable progress was made during their frank and open discussions on various difficult issues.”