Monday, 6 February 2017

Discussing: Doha Declaration and The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Image result for doha declarationTaking a new temporal post in Brunel University I am preparing seminars by the week. Today I finished with the students in the International Intellectual Property module the topic of the Doha Declaration, specifically TRIPS and public health. Of course there were the news last week about the “waiver” which is now a permanent amendment of the TRIPS and I was bound to cover this. But as I lecture students, I notice that I go into details and analysis in the legislation, and so I try to leave the seminars with a more personal touch. The majority of students I have are foreigners who mostly will return to they country. Is then a waiver the solution? I asked them; or one of many? Why there has been only one case using the waiver i.e. Rwanda. But on the other side, I asked them to see jurisdictions such as Thailand and Ecuador using compulsory licenses and then see the consequences of this. I also noted that some countries will use it as a political propaganda. I certainly let students to know that legislation is one thing but the practice may be another.

In the same line, in 2 weeks time I set up some questions to them in regards to the TPP since the topic we will be covering is IPRs and bilateral and regional trade agreements. Apart from the obvious questions they need to deal with I ask them to see the two sides of the coin in this particular agreement. Indeed the information is two sided: “strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights” i.e. restrictive measures contained in it. For example it is said that the measures threaten the access to generic drugs and biosimilars, impose new trade conditions in the seed market, and restrict freedom of expression, among others. On the other hand, it is said that all IP “commitments are aligned with the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, affirming the rights of countries to take measures to promote public health.” They need to understand that in a table on negotiations we need to see this: and is it to us in such table to establish a right balance? I asked them to look at Article 7 and 8 of the TRIPS (principles and objectives).



Image result for TPPThen one of the last questions for the development of the tutorial is: will the TPP be now a better balanced agreement - since the President of United States Mr Donald Trump has withdrawn from it. OR, can we say that without the US it may be a ‘meaningless’ agreement as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, indicated after Trump’s announcement.

Will definitely tell you what a room packed with more than 10 nationalities will have to say...remembering that in the room there will be citizens from developed countries, developing ones and I believe one from a LDC. Definitely, worth hearing and excited to be part of the debate.

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