KDI series in Economic Policy and Development
Edited by Sanghoon Ahn, Bronwyn H. Hall and Keun Lee
Chapter 5: Protecting indigenous knowledge through geographical indications: a case study of the textile industry in India
Removal of the quantitative restrictions on trade of textiles and apparel (T & A) following the expiration of the Multi-Fibre Agreement (MFA) in January 2005 has brought a sea change in the global T & A industry, resulting in significant structural adjustments. While countries continue to focus on strengthening their core competence in order to protect market shares, recent studies have shown that countries that aspire to maintain an export-led strategy in textiles and apparel are making efforts to complement their strength in manufacturing by developing expertise in the higher value-added service segments of the supply chain such as design, sourcing, branding and retail distribution. Thus, brand building and focused marketing, in addition to the development of specialty product lines, have gained significance in the current competitive environment. It is in this new regime of growing creative content in a volatile and rapidly transforming global industry that the use and efficacy of exclusivity-according tools such as intellectual property rights (IP rights or IPRs) gains new relevance in the context of traditional industrial sectors such as the T & A. The germane question is whether use of IPRs helps to ensure better market access and unit-price realisation for niche products and promotes value addition for the rights holders in T & A as experienced in other more technology-intensive sectors of an economy.
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