Regional Trade Agreements

ECA and SC Policy Brief and Update, May and September 2017

Eleventh World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference (Buenos Aires, December 2017) in the context of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Continental Free Trade Area

This present policy brief has been made available by the African Trade Policy Centre of the Economic Commission for Africa to provide background information on the key issues expected to be discussed at the eleventh World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. It is based on a series of discussion papers developed by the African Trade Policy Centre in collaboration with the South Centre. Full papers are available upon request.

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Research Paper 62R, July 2017

Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines (revised)

Most free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). (more…)

Policy Brief 37, March 2017

The Need to Avoid “TRIPS-Plus” Patent Clauses in Trade Agreements

A recent article in a prestigious journal reminds us of how the intellectual property chapter of free trade agreements can prevent the sick from getting treatment.  This article also critiques the TPP clauses and warns that they should not be translated to national laws or copied into other FTAs being negotiated. 
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Investment Policy Brief 8, March 2017

Reflections on the Discussion of Investment Facilitation

‘Investment facilitation’ is a concept repeated in discussions pertaining to investment policies and treaties, including those addressing the reform of investment treaties. The discussion on investment facilitation is taking place in various fora and contexts. (more…)

Research Paper 74, February 2017

Mitigating the Regulatory Constraints Imposed by Intellectual Property Rules under Free Trade Agreements

IP provisions in FTAs may have implications on a wide range of public policy areas. A vast academic literature has addressed the “flexibilities” available under the TRIPS Agreement and the negative impact of FTAs in relation to access to medicines. (more…)

Research Paper 62, September 2015

Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines

Most free trade agreements signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization. (more…)

Research Paper 55, November 2014

Patent Protection for Plants: Legal Options for Developing Countries

The paper examines, first, the exclusion of patent protection for plants, including plant varieties, biological materials, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants. The legal implications of the right – recognized under the TRIPS Agreement – to exclude plants from patent protection are briefly discussed, as well as how the exclusion allowed by article 27.3(b) of said Agreement has been implemented at the national level and, particularly, whether it can be extended to parts and components of plants. (more…)

Analytical Note, October 2013

Ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement: The Case of Cameroon

This Note looks at the Costs and Benefits of an EPA for Cameroon if it would ratify the interim-EPA.

The main benefit of the EPA would be the avoidance of duties that EU importers would have to pay. If Cameroon would fall back to EU GSP, these duties would amount to USD 42.5 million / year (top-30 exports under EU GSP). In the case of the GSP+, only two key products will face tariffs: bananas and malt extract/food preparation with low cocoa contents. (more…)

Analytical Note, September 2013

The EU-CARIFORUM EPA: Regulatory and Policy Changes and Lessons for Other ACP Countries

This note assesses the state of play of EPA implementation in the CARIFORUM region. It shows that the regulatory, legislative and policy changes necessary for EPA implementation in the areas of trade in goods and services are at varying stages of implementation among member states, with many countries being very far from fully implementing the agreement. (more…)

Analytical Note, March 2013

EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements: Current State of Play.

This note provides an overview of the EPA negotiations. It illustrates the fact that the same critical contentious issues persist in the EPAs across various regional blocs. It also highlights the concerns of the highest political authorities of ACP States regarding the EPAs and the inherent dangers for (more…)

Analytical Note, June 2012

The EPAs and Risks for Africa: Local Production and Regional Trade.

One of the main contentious issues in the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and African countries is the level of trade liberalization which Europe is asking for. This issue is certainly one of the most critical for Africa. (more…)

Analytical Note, November 2011

Economic Partnership Agreements in Africa: A Benefit-Cost Analysis.

This study provides a simple cost-benefit analysis of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between African countries and the European Union. It compares the costs of signing an EPA – measured as tariff revenue losses, versus the “gains” of signing an EPA – measured as (more…)


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