What are sanitary & phyto-sanitary barriers? Trade curbs faced by India from U.S.; Only rehab centre in the country for smuggled Star Tortoises setup at Kerala and more…

GS II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Centre to raise with U.S. Non-Tariff barriers.

Curbs affecting exports of goods made in India

  • What are sanitary & phyto-sanitary trade barriers?
    • All countries maintain measures to ensure that food is safe for consumers, and to prevent the spread of pests or diseases among animals and plants.
    • These sanitary and phytosanitary measures can take many forms, such as
      • requiring products to come from a disease-free area,
      • inspection of products,
      • specific treatment or processing of products,
      • setting of allowable maximum levels of pesticide residues or
      • permitted use of only certain additives in food.
    • Sanitary (human and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) measures apply to domestically produced food or local animal and plant diseases, as well as to products coming from other countries. 

  • The U.S. “non-tariff/Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) barriers” include those imposed
    under laws concerning

    • bio-terrorism,
    • child-labour,
    • national security,
    • ‘Buy America’ norms preferring U.S.-made items and American suppliers in U.S. Government purchases,
    • registration fee hikes (in sectors such as pharma),
    • food safety as well as
    • animal and plant health regulations.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has listed 23 items produced in India on the ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labour or Forced Labour’ — which is in effect a ban on their import.
  • The U.S. has also taken measures to perceive terrorist threats that include scanning of maritime containers. The issue is that it includes X-Ray scanning of containers which would lead to additional costs incurred by Indian exporters.
  • Invoking exceptions in the name of national security is the major Non – Tariff Barrier for exporters to U.S.
  • On Pharma: Indian pharmaceutical industry which is the world’s largest generic medicine supplier with U.S. as its major customer is hit by increase in registration fees, approval delays and low approval rates.
  • On Traditional Medicines: Ayurveda and traditional Indian medicines are hit by the U.S. requirement of clinical trials while the practice of traditional Indian medicine systems such as Siddha and Unani are not allowed by the U.S. Federal Government.
  • On Agriculture: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fixes a tolerance level for certain pesticide residues, Indian Basmati Rice exports will be hurt owing to import alerts due to the presence of such pesticide residues.
    • Indian grapes, litchis, pomegranates, honey, marine and meat products are
      also impacted by various U.S. NTBs.
    • irradiation treatment and inspection of mangoes prior to shipping from India is a very costly and a time consuming process.
  • U.S. has imposed countervailing duties* on Indian exports, including those by steel and paper industries.
    • *Duties that are imposed in order to counter the negative impact of import subsidies to protect domestic producers are called countervailing duties. These are also known as anti-dumping duties.

Source: The Hindu

GS II: Development processes and the development industry – role of NGOs, SHGs, various  groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

  • Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISC) in India will be setup by the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP) and World Intellectual Property Organisation.
  • About WIPO:
    • HQ: Geneva, Switzerland
    • WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation.

    • It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 189 member states.

    • Their mission is to lead the development of a balanced and effective international intellectual property (IP) system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all. 

    • Governed by WIPO Convention, established in 1967.

  • Services offered by TISCs may include:
    • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
    • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
    • Training in database search;
    • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
    • Monitoring technology and competitors;
    • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.
  • Presently, there are 567 TISCs in the world.


This agreement will be a leap forward for implementing Start Up India scheme where entrepreneurs more than ever, require training and awareness in intellectual property rights and access to data to promote their business. With so many established TISCs in the world, it will be seen as a great platform for exchange of ideas with other stakeholders.

Source: The Hindu, WIPO.int

Prelims Facts

GS III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is the only rehabilitation centre for Star Tortoises in India.

The sanctuary is now a haven for at least 450 such tortoises seized from poachers in less than two years.


Customs recovered a suspicious consignment of 200 Star Tortoises meant for an east Asian destination. In South East Asia, live Indian star tortoises are considered auspicious for gaining wealth. Hence the poaching and smuggling.

Rehabilitation partly adopts the ‘soft releasing’ process in which randomly selected tortoises are taken to the wild in an enclosure from which they may enter the forest at will.

Image Source: Business Insider

Source: The Hindu

Facts to remember:

  • Demonetisation not enough. More efforts needed on black money front.
  • The United Nation’s ‘Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2017’ said that while estimates of the size of the black economy in India vary at about 20-25% of the GDP, cash is estimated to make up only about 10% of that value.

Source: The Hindu



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