The World Trade Organization has passed an agreement of the “Information Technology Agreement” to reduce to zero all taxes and tariffs on computer products by the signatories. It entered into force on 1 July 1997. The agreement provides for a general reduction in customs duties on industrial products and the gradual abolition of quantitative restrictions over a certain period. The important implication is that companies that have a competitive advantage could survive in the long run. This principle of “national treatment” (others are treated on an equal footing with their own nationals) is also found in the three main WTO agreements (Article 3 of the GATT, Article 17 of the GATS and Article 3 of the TRIPS Agreement). This agreement prohibits the host country from discriminating between foreign and domestic investments, i.e. the agreement requires that investments be freely admitted by nations. Intellectual property rights aim to protect and legally recognize the author of the intangible illegal use of his creation. It includes patents, copyrights, geographical indications, trademarks, industrial circuits, designs and trade secrets.
Since the law governing these aspects varies considerably from one country to another, the agreement provides for a fundamental homogeneity of the law, so that there is no offence. This required some changes in the national laws of countries, including India. As a result, India has amended the Copyright Act, the Patent Act and the Trade and Goods Act. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are expected to be hit the hardest. Another influence on India probably lies in the transfer of technology from abroad. During the Nairobi negotiations in 2015, for example, fifty-three WTO members signed an extension of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which lowers tariffs on a number of information technology products. This means that more than 97 percent of all global IT trade is now covered by WTO rules. An important plurilateral agreement underway is the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which has been negotiated since 2013 [PDF] between twenty-three members, including the United States and the European Union (EU), but excluding China.
Supporters of TISA hope to use the negotiations to advance the liberalization of world trade in services by the WTO, whose rules have not been updated since 1995. .