US, EU Demand TRIPS-Plus Concessions From Poorest Countries

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Sangeeta Shashikant writes: “Developed countries, particularly the United States and the European Union, have offered a poor and impractical deal of an incredibly short extension of 5 years with restrictive conditions to least developed countries that are entitled to be exempted from implementing the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

Particularly problematic is their demand that the LDCs agree to a ‘no-roll-back’ clause, a TRIPS plus condition that will prevent LDCs from rolling back  (i.e. providing a reduced degree of IP protection) their current laws, even if they adversely impact their development concerns.

The US and EU are also insisting to include in the extension decision a section on need-assessment on IP, to facilitate implementation of TRIPS standards.

According to sources, this deal was offered in informal consultations between developed countries (US, EU and Japan) and the LDCs coordinated by Australia. The last such consultation took place on Friday, 26 April.

Last November the LDCs exercised their legal rights under the TRIPS rules, and submitted a request to the TRIPS Council requesting an unconditional extension of the transition period for as long as a country remains an LDC.  The current transition period expires on 1 July 2013.”

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