EU assured will act to end generics seizures: India's Sharma

20th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Wednesday the EU's trade chief had assured him that rules would be amended to prevent any seizure of generic medicines transiting through the 27-nation bloc.

"There has been a very clear reassurance, a categorical assurance given by the EU trade commissioner that the notification under which actions were taken ... were misinterpreted (and) will be amended to plug all loopholes," said Sharma.

"I have every reason to believe that the assurances given at the highest level will be implemented, and once that happens, that should be in the interest of everyone," he added.

India and Brazil in May launched a legal challenge at the World Trade Organization against the European Union after several shipments of generic medicines were seized or delayed at EU ports.

At least two seizures of Indian drugs were carried out in 2009 -- in Frankfurt in May and in Paris in October. EU authorities have cited patent issues in the seizures.

Sharma revealed that he had met with former EU trade commissioner Catherine Ashton and her replacement Karel de Gucht on the issue and had been given assurances that the situation would change.

Meanwhile, the commerce minister, who was in Geneva to meet trade officials on the progress of the Doha Round of negotiations for a global free trade deal, noted that "there has been some progress where, in addition to processes, the substance is being discussed."

However, he would not give a date on when the long-stalled negotiations launched in 2001 could be concluded, saying only that "2011 is the year of opportunity."

© 2010 AFP

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