Issues

A Right to Research in Africa?, 23-27 January 2023

A Right to Research in Africa?

A Week of Events on Copyright and Access to Knowledge in South Africa

The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property of the American University Washington College of Law (PIJIP) is co-organizing a week of debates on copyright and access to knowledge in South Africa the week of January 23rd, with a coalition of three university groups and four civil society organizations.

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SC-AU Workshop on WIPO Issues, 13-14 December 2022

South Centre – African Union Workshop on WIPO Issues

13-14 December 2022 at the Montreux Room – Centre de Conférences de Varembé (CCV), Geneva

In light of the Recommendations of the AU/AG workshop of December 2019 and the latest developments at SCCR/42, the African Group Coordinator, the South Centre and the African Union Permanent Mission in Geneva proposed a preparatory coordination workshop.

The workshop is co-organized by the South Centre, the African Union Permanent Representation in Geneva and the Permanent Mission of Algeria in Geneva (Coordinator of the African Group for WIPO issues).

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SC Contribution – WITHDRAWAL OF DIGITAL SERVICES TAXES & RELEVANT SIMILAR MEASURES, 25 January 2023

COMMENTS ON PILLAR ONE – AMOUNT A: DRAFT MULTILATERAL CONVENTION PROVISIONS ON DIGITAL SERVICES TAXES AND OTHER RELEVANT SIMILAR MEASURES

The BEPS Monitoring Group, 25 January 2023

The BEPS Monitoring Group submitted comments to the public consultation on the draft provisions on withdrawal of Digital Services Taxes and ‘relevant similar measures’. Abdul Muheet Chowdhary, Senior Programme Officer of the South Centre Tax Initiative, was a contributor.

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Document de Recherche 171, 31 janvier 2023

Directives pour l’examen des demandes de brevet relatives aux produits pharmaceutiques

Par Carlos M Correa

Ce document fait suite à un document antérieur, Directives applicables à l’examen des brevets pharmaceutiques: examen des brevets pharmaceutiques du point de vue de la santé publique, publié en 2007 comme document de travail par le Centre international pour le commerce et le développement durable (CICDD), la Conférence des Nations Unies sur le commerce et le développement (CNUCED) et l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS).

Le présent document tient compte des évolutions survenues depuis la publication du document de travail CICDD-CNUCED-OMS en 2007. Il comprend de nouveaux exemples de demandes et/ou de délivrance de brevets, ainsi qu’une analyse et des références aux initiatives d’un certain nombre de pays qui ont adopté des lois et/ou des politiques visant à prendre en compte les considérations de santé publique dans l’examen des demandes de brevets.

Avec ce document, l’objectif est de fournir des orientations pour l’élaboration ou la révision de directives sur les processus d’examen des brevets dans les pays en développement, en réponse aux préoccupations concernant l’augmentation du nombre de brevets dans le secteur pharmaceutique. À cette fin, un certain nombre de recommandations sont formulées en ce qui concerne l’examen des demandes de brevetabilité relatives aux produits et procédés pharmaceutiques.

Ce document est une traduction de la version originale des “Directives pour l’examen des demandes de brevet relatives aux produits pharmaceutiques” publiées en anglais par le Programme des Nations Unies pour le Développement (PNUD). Le South Centre remercie le PNUD pour l’aimable autorisation de publier cette version non officielle. Traduit pour le South Centre par M. Natanael França.

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SouthViews No. 244, 31 January 2023

Graduating from the LDC Group: Challenges Facing Bangladesh

by Mustafizur Rahman

A significant number of LDCs will be graduating in the near term future. On graduation these countries will face formidable challenges as they will lose the benefits accruing from LDC-specific international support measures. Bangladesh is the first major LDC which is slated for graduation, to take place in November 2026. This article examines the various graduation challenges facing Bangladesh, and articulates some of the strategies that the country needs to pursue in order to graduate with momentum and make graduation sustainable.

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South Centre Comments on Pillar One – Amount B, 25 January 2023

South Centre Comments on Pillar One – Amount B

The South Centre provided its comments to the OECD Secretariat on Pillar One – Amount B. Amount B is part of the components of Pillar One to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy. It seeks to simplify transfer pricing rules for ‘baseline’ marketing and distribution functions.

Transfer pricing remains a highly complex and challenging area for developing countries. The ultimate objective of transfer pricing is to determine a market price for intra-company transactions, but doing this in practice is a largely subjective exercise, which makes it prone to abuse and profit shifting. Developing countries lose billions of dollars in revenue each year due to abusive transfer pricing.

Amount B is important for developing countries as it seeks to provide a simple method through which in-scope intra-company transactions can be priced, which can potentially ease tax administration, reduce disputes and increase tax certainty. However, the current form of the proposal renders it highly complex and unlikely to achieve its stated objective of simplification.

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South Centre Comments on the Amount A Draft MLC Provisions on DSTs & Other Relevant Similar Measures, 20 January 2023

South Centre Comments on the ‘Amount A Draft Multilateral Convention Provisions on Digital Services Taxes and Other Relevant Similar Measures

The South Centre provided its comments to the OECD Inclusive Framework’s Task Force on Digital Economy (TFDE) on the Draft Multilateral Convention Provisions on Digital Services Taxes and other Relevant Similar Measures under Amount A of Pillar One (MLC). This MLC is part of the components of Pillar One to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy. It aims to restrict countries which sign to the Pillar One MLC from implementing any digital tax policy solution apart from the OECD’s, such as Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) and other relevant similar measures.

These draft provisions are amongst the most controversial aspects of the Pillar One rules, as countries which decide to implement the OECD solution will be expected to give up the use of DSTs and similar measures on all companies, not just those in-scope of Amount A.

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Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 28, 20 January 2023

Climate Finance Withholding Mechanism: Exploring a potential solution for climate finance needs of the developing countries

By Radhakishan Rawal

The developed countries’ commitment to provide climate finance to the developing countries has remained unfulfilled. The Climate Finance Withholding Mechanism (CFWM) is a potential solution for addressing climate finance needs of the developing countries. The CFWM adopts the well settled “withholding mechanism” under the tax laws to provide a steady flow of funds to the developing countries.

Multinational enterprises’ (MNEs) tax residents of developed countries earn income from the developing countries and pay tax on such income in the developed countries. The CFWM requires retention in the developing country, of the amount of tax so payable by the MNE, towards climate finance commitments of the developed countries. The CFWM does not result in additional tax outflow for the MNEs and also does not adversely impact taxing rights of the developed countries. The CFWM results in application of tax revenue of the developed countries towards their climate finance commitments. The CFWM does not address all the issues related to the climate finance problem but only attempts to speed up the flow of funds to the developing countries from where the relevant income originates.

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Tax Cooperation Policy Brief 27, 21 December 2022

Taxing Big Tech: Policy Options for Developing Countries

By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary and Sébastien Babou Diasso

Even as the COVID-19 crisis wreaked havoc on the global economy, it gave rise to a small set of winners, namely Big Tech. The increasing prevalence of remote work and an acceleration of the digitalization of the economy allowed Big Tech companies to raise enormous revenues during the pandemic, which in some cases dwarfed the gross domestic product (GDP) of several countries. This policy brief explores the rising untaxed profits of Big Tech in particular, and the digitalized economy in general, and explains why the existing rules are insufficient. It also critically examines the solution that has been devised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of developed countries. Finally, it outlines alternative policy options that are more suitable for developing countries to tax the profits of Big Tech.

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Statement on WHO proposed instrument on pandemics, 9 December 2022

South Centre Statement

WHO proposed instrument on pandemics: the Conceptual Zero Draft needs substantial improvement to address global public health needs

We welcome the discussions in the WHO on a new instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. While we appreciate the preparation and sharing with WHO members of the Conceptual Zero Draft (hereinafter ‘the Draft’), we note that more work is needed to address the insufficiency of the tools at the disposal of the WHO that became evident with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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