ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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WTO: Heavy Baggage for Cancun

The two-year long, hard-fought negotiations among officials of 146 countries at the WTO's headquarters in Geneva have left all the core areas of the Doha Development Agenda, with the exception of TRIPS and Public Health, still far from agreement. So it is over to the ministerial meeting in Cancun next week, which will be judged by the final outcome in agriculture, non-agriculture market access and the four 'Singapore issues'.

Amended Patents Act and Access to Medicines after Doha

The Doha Declaration constitutes a major step forward insofar as it acknowledges in the WTO context that the introduction of patents in the health sector has significant impacts on access to drugs. However, the Declaration neither amends the TRIPS Agreement nor provides a basis for developing countries to link their patent and health legislations. The Patents (Amendment) Act, 2002 closely follows TRIPS and in the process does away with provisions of the 1970 Act that constituted India's own response to the challenge of providing exclusive commercial rights in a field concerned with the fulfilment of basic health needs.

India at Doha: Retrospect and Prospect

In developing our future negotiating positions, we need to think far more systematically than we have done so far. At least three strategic conclusions can be drawn from the Uruguay Round and Doha experiences. First, we need to consider the direct benefits to us of any demand we put forward in the negotiations. Second, diplomacy requires that we define our negotiating position positively rather than negatively. Finally, and most importantly, prior to defining our negotiating position, we must think hard about the end-game. By repeatedly staking a position that is far from what we eventually accept, as has been the case in the UR Agreement and the Doha Declaration, we lose credibility in future negotiations and risk being isolated. This risk has now increased manifold with the entry of China into WTO.

Calcutta Diary

The Republic of Argentina has proved the point. It is not necessarily TINA. There can be an alternative, there is an alternative. Suppose, way back in 1991, the Indian ruling class, instead of capitulating, had defaulted on the country's external debt commitments, India need not have gone down either.

Doha Declaration and Agriculture in Developing Countries

Developing countries had hoped that the Agreement on Agriculture negotiated as part of the Uruguay Round and signed at Marrakesh in 1994 by 120 countries would open up export markets for their products in the developed countries. In the past six years, however, these countries have found that several asymmetries and inequities in the agreement were not conducive to their interests. These concerns were voiced at several meetings and the WTO was urged time and again to first attend to these implementation issues before widening the scope of the WTO at the Fourth Ministerial Conference. This article discusses the progress reflected in this regard in the Doha declaration.

Preparing for Doha WTO Meeting

The upcoming WTO ministerial meeting at Doha will be considered to have been of benefit to developing countries if negotiations lead to cogent steps towards achieving a balance between liberalisation and particular development requirements. Third world countries will do well to forge broad alliances and workable coalitions.
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