India and the European Union have reached an interim settlement to ensure that none of its 27 members will detain consignments of generic medicines made in India, which are in transit through their countries.
The group has agreed to issue guidelines to customs regulatory authorities in all member states directing them not to carry out seizures merely on the basis of suspicion. This has long been causing acrimony between India and the EU.
The European Commission has also come up with a draft proposing changes in the customs regulations that would permanently take care of such seizures. It will be placed before the EU parliament for clearance once some areas of differences between the EU and India are ironed out.
"Finally, EU has come around and we have agreed on an interim settlement, which means EU will not make any detention within its territory of pharmaceutical products coming from India. We will wait for the final settlement but we have not lost our right to agitate on the matter again," Rajiv Kher, additional secretary in the commerce department, told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday.
This means that India will not withdraw its case against the European Union in the World Trade Organisation's dispute settlement body. India had moved the WTO after consignments of generic or non-patented medicines shipped to Latin America were seized by European customs authorities on charges of intellectual property rights violations.
Subsequently, Brazil joined the dispute on India's side.