Yemen Accedes To WTO; Outcry Over Tough TRIPS Deadline04/12/2013 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.At the World Trade Organization Ministerial in Bali, Indonesia today, Yemen was accepted as a new least-developed country member. Its terms for joining included adoption of full intellectual property trade rules by 2016, which more than 160 civil society groups worldwide said is in contravention of last summer’s agreement to extend the period for LDCs to adopt such rules to 2021 or later. Yemen is the 35th LDC member, according to the WTO press release.The Yemeni Parliament will have six months, until 2 June 2014, to ratify its accession package, WTO said. It will then inform the WTO and 30 days later it will officially become a member.Its accession agreement includes adoption of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects for Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by 2016.The civil society groups, which include dozens of Yemeni organisations, said Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab region, with many challenges, making it “unconscionable for the WTO to require Yemen to fully implement the TRIPS Agreement by 2016.” It is also damaging to WTO’s credibility that it is failing to abide by its own rules, they said.The signers of the 28 November letter [pdf] to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo urged the WTO to do something to address the situation.“[W]e urge you to take immediate measures to rectify the situation by issuing a statement confirming that the TRIPS Council Decision adopted on 11 June 2013 is applicable to Yemen and it is under no obligation to implement the TRIPS Agreement until 1 July 2021 or later if a further extension is granted pursuant to Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement,” they said. “We also urge you to ensure that all LDC countries that are in the process of acceding to the WTO are accorded transition periods consistent with TRIPS Council decisions concerning Article 66.1.”The groups said they “stress that any attempt to weaken or to refuse LDCs rights that they are entitled to will damage the credibility of the WTO and will show that the multilateral trading system does not work in the interests of the poorest and most vulnerable populations of the international community. Even worse, such a condition will confine Yemen to technological underdevelopment and to potential overpayment for IP-protected commodities for years to come thereby imposing unnecessary hardship and human rights deprivations on some of the poorest people in the world.”Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedWilliam New may be reached at email@example.com."Yemen Accedes To WTO; Outcry Over Tough TRIPS Deadline" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.