World Trade Organisation Current Affairs - 2019

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GI Tag: Kolhapuri chappals

The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) has granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kolhapuris, the ethnic leather chappal (footwear) to four districts in each state of Maharashtra and Karnataka. These 8 districts are- Kolhapur, Sangli, Solapur and Satara districts of Maharashtra and Belgaum, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Bijapur districts of Karnataka.

Kolhapuri Chappal

Uniqueness: These sturdy leather chappals are hand-crafted and tanned using vegetable dyes and the art of making them is passed down one generation to another.

History: As per GI application made by two states of Mharashtra and Karnataka, Kolhapuris can be traced back to 12th century when King Bijjal ruled Bidar (in Karnataka). King’s Prime Minister Vishwaguru Basavanna, wanted to create a casteless society and remove stigma attached to cobbler community, thus, the community embraced Lingayat faith and used its skills to start producing footwear that came to be known equally for its ruggedness and regal bearing.

‘Kolhapuri’ as a Brand was created only at beginning of 20th century when footwear began to be traded in Kolhapur (Maharashtra). Later, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur encouraged its production and 29 tanning centres were opened during his rule in Kolhapur.

Benefits of GI Tag

It will help artisans export these chappals and also tie up with e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Amazon.

With GI tag now these local artisans get legal support. Thus, anyone who is going to copy this can be punished.

Significance of GI tag

Getting GI tag will open large markets, both domestic and international to artisans who produce Kolhapuris. Also, getting GI tag for Kolhapuri means that footwear produced only in these 8 districts will qualify to carry tag of being Kolhapuris.

What is Geographical Indications?

GI is used on products/items which have specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.

Validity: The tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.

GI India: Recently Union Minister of Commerce and Industry launched logo and tagline for Geographical Indications (GI) of India. The 1st product to get a GI tag in India was Darjeeling tea (2004).

The sui generis Act for protection of GI in India is Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act). This Act was enacted by India so as to comply with Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Month: Categories: Art & Culture

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Imports from Pakistan to India decline by 92% in March 2019

Imports from Pakistan to India have declined by 92% amounting to USD 2.84 Million in March 2019 after imposition of 200% customs duties on all products. The strong economic action against Pakistan was taken following Pulwama terror attack.

Key Highlights

  • Background: On February 2019, in aftermath of Pulwama terror attack for which Pakistan based JeM terror group claimed responsibility, India revoked the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status given to Pakistan. This further led to strong economic action against Pakistan such as India raised customs duty to 200% on all goods imported from Pakistan.
  • During 2018-19 fiscal year for January-March period, the imports from Pakistan declined by 47%, about USD 53.65 Million.
  • India’s Export: In March 2019, India’s exports to Pakistan also dipped by about 32% amounting to over USD171 million. However, Indian exports grew by 7.4% (over USD 2 billion) during 2018-19.
  • Commodities Imported: India raised 200% custom duty on goods imported from neighbouring country, including cotton, fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products and mineral. But the main commodities imported during month of March 2019 from Pakistan includes knitted fabrics, wool, articles of apparel and clothing, preparation of vegetables spices, chemicals, man-made filaments, and plastics.
  • Exception: As per some experts, keeping in mind that importing goods at 200% customs duties would not be viable for anyone, thus government has allowed few domestic manufacturing exporters to avail Nil(0%) import duty benefit under Advance Authorisation Scheme to import products, especially raw materials from Pakistan.

About Most Favoured Nation Status

  • Under the MFN pact, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) member country is obliged to treat other trading nation (to whom it has granted MFN status) in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.
  • The MFN status was granted by India to Pakistan in 1996, but India was not granted the same from Pakistan.

Month: Categories: InternationalUPSC

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