Biopiracy could be a sticking point in the free trade negotiations that the United States is pursuing with three of the countries with greatest biodiversity in the world: Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
A free trade agreement with the United States would lead to a broader
application of intellectual property rights that could hurt Thais —
from farmers to internet users — an expert has warned.
The Free Trade Agreements concluded between the four member states of the European Free Trade Association ¬(EFTA) - Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - and a number of developing countries contain provisions on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) which go far beyond the obligations already imposed on these countries in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Last month, GRAIN issued an open letter to Pascal Lamy, the chief of trade policy at the European Commission. In it, we disputed Mr Lamy’s public relations efforts aimed at trying to convince the world that the EU champions the rights of Third World farmers to save seeds.
Bilateral agreements are a powerful but hidden tool to achieve uniform market conditions for transnational corporations in developing countries. Silently hammered out between individual governments, they offer a direct means to cut deals over market access privileges, foreign investment, research funding or anchor-free profits.