Farmers, Seeds & the Laws: Importing the Chilling Effect Doctrine
By Saurav Ghimire
As an increasing number of countries are formulating Plant Variety Protection (PVP) laws, a growing number of farmers are affected by plant breeders’ rights. In addition, the seed certification law also affects farmers’ relations with seeds. Discussing the farmers’ interaction with the PVP law and seed certification law in Indonesia, this article establishes that the farmers have internalised the law beyond the scope of the legal text, such that they self-limit breeding, saving, and exchanging of seeds even in legally permissible situations. Based on the chilling effect doctrine, this article argues that the related laws should be relaxed to ensure that they do not over deter farmers from exercising their rights. This article calls for both negative and positive state obligations to address the chilling effect on farmers arising from both state and private actors.
Doha Twenty Years On – Has The Promise Been Betrayed?
By Yousuf Vawda and Bonginkosi Shozi
The Doha Declaration’s twentieth anniversary in November 2021 has taken place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience of the past two years has demonstrated that the very factors that necessitated the Declaration—the problems of inequitable access to medicines and other health technologies for the world’s poor—continue to plague us.
Has the promise of the Doha Declaration been betrayed? In this contribution, we critically engage with this question, focusing our appraisal on whether the Doha Declaration has been successful in fulfilling its commitments to: (a) advancing access to health; (b) equity and fairness in the relations between WTO Members States; and (c) recognising perspectives from the developing world in formulating IP policy. Ultimately, we conclude that the promise of the Doha Declaration has failed to materialise.
There are many reasons for this. For instance, developed country governments have intentionally undermined the Declaration by their insistence on inserting more onerous TRIPS-plus provisions in free trade agreements and economic partnership agreements, which decimate the limited flexibilities permitted by the TRIPS Agreement. And where countries have sought to use such flexibilities, they have been assailed by an over-litigious pharmaceutical industry, and threats by governments such as the US 301 Watch List. For these reasons, we argue for the need for alternative paradigms to challenge Western hegemony and norms regarding IP and other trade-related issues, and for effectively challenging this through the application of a “decoloniality” approach.
Free-riding and free driving are relevant problems undermining structural transformation in environmental matters. These two different trends of the markets give incentive to opportunistic and individualistic behavior that hinders the abilities of international markets to create positive environmental externalities. To the contrary, they might lead to monopolistic concentration and negative environmental externalities.
Law, instead of allowing them (through carbon markets compensations only, for example) should look for alternatives of structural transformation of markets. Both well know concepts as the common goods and newer ideas as the possibility of positive screening of transformative market alternatives (or transformed enterprises) might be really useful for such a goal and consequently for the production of positive environmental externalities.
Mejora la regla del nexo para una distribución justa de derechos fiscales a países en vías de desarrollo
Por Radhakishan Rawal
Uno de los problemas abiertos para Pilar Uno en el debate de la tributación de la economía digital es el umbral del Nexo, que determinaría qué Empresas multinacionales (MNE) tienen una presencia tributable. Las economías muy desarrolladas o las economías más pequeñas en vías de desarrollo pueden verse privadas de derechos fiscales como resultado de umbrales de nexo como son descritos en la propuesta de Pilar Uno. Asimismo, inclusive cuando se adoptan umbrales más pequeños, a algunos países aún se les puede denegar derechos fiscales. El umbral financiero nunca fue un parámetro de distribución de derechos fiscales entre los países. Un ligero ajuste del proceso de certeza impositiva podría abordar el problema.
Este artículo recomienda otorgar el derecho fiscal por Monto A de Pilar Uno, que abarca la porción principal de ganancias tributables de la economía digital, a todas las jurisdicciones del mercado, pero otorgar derechos relacionados con las jurisdicciones impositivas afectadas solo a aquellos países que cumplen con los umbrales de Nexo. Este enfoque resultará en una distribución justa de derechos fiscales y también garantizará que no haya una carga adicional en el proceso de certeza impositiva, que será más sencillo para países en vías de desarrollo.
Addressing Food Insecurity and Climate Change for Poverty Reduction in the Horn of Africa
By Ali Issa Abdi
This article provides an assessment of the impact of food insecurity and climate change on poverty reduction in the Horn of Africa (HoA), which is one of the most affected regions in the world by these interlinked challenges. The region is confronted by these interconnected and mutually reinforcing negative conditions, which are compounded by institutional constraints, insecurity and scarce financial resources. Consequently, to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty in all its forms by 2030, it is imperative to implement urgent and radical transformation of food production systems, and to adopt accelerated and scaled up global actions to strengthen resilience and people’s livelihoods in response to climate variability and extremes.
The WTO TRIPS Waiver and Essential Security Rights in 2022
By Dr. Alexander Beyleveld
Almost two years have passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are still far from bringing the pandemic to an end. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that large vaccine inequities remain worldwide. In order to address this problem, a large subset of World Trade Organization (WTO) members are in favour of waiving certain obligations contained in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). Against this backdrop, this article contemplates the legal necessity of such a waiver given that Article 73 of the TRIPS Agreement contains essential security exceptions which may render the obligations in question inapplicable under the interpretation that the pandemic affects law and public order interests.
South Asia and the Need for Increased Tax Revenues from the Digitalized Economy
By Abdul Muheet Chowdhary
It is understandable why Pakistan and Sri Lanka, both members of the OECD Inclusive Framework, rejected the Two Pillar solution of the OECD on the taxation of the digitalized economy. Both Pillars would have deprived them of badly needed revenues, especially Pillar One. South Asian countries, amongst the poorest in the world and with high levels of external debt, must conduct a careful cost-benefit analysis if they are considering proceeding with Pillar One. Agreeing to this means foregoing unilateral measures on all companies, including those out-of-scope and losing vital policy space. Further, the agreement will have a long shelf-life and likely last for the next 30-40 years. Thus, all developing countries, including from South Asia, should be clear about what they are ‘getting into’.
Mainstreaming Public Health Considerations in Adjudication of Intellectual Property Disputes: Implications of Specialized IP Courts and General Courts
By Justice (Retd.) Prabha Sridevan
How can the public interest dimension be considered in the adjudication of intellectual property (IP) disputes, in particular those concerning patents on health technologies such as medicines and vaccines? This is the main question addressed by Justice (Retd.) Prabha Sridevan, former Judge of the Madras High Court and former Chairperson of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) of India, as an expert facilitator, at the Asian Regional Course for Judges on Intellectual Property and Public Health organized by the South Centre in August 2021. Justice Sridevan addressed the pros and cons of adjudication through specialized courts vis-à-vis general courts.
Jamaica’s Perspective on Reform of the Global Investment Regime
By Omar Chedda
The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to the world economy, and in particular, Jamaica’s economy, due to supply chain bottlenecks and reduction of tourism, on which Jamaica is heavily dependent. This is the context in which Jamaica is now reviewing its investment regime to ensure that investments contribute to recovery, building resilience and sustainable development, while improving investor rights and obligations in line with global trends.
Améliorer des règles du nexus pour une répartition équitable des droits d’imposition pour les pays en développement
Par Radhakishan Rawal
L’une des questions posées dans le Premier Pilier sur les discussions sur l’imposition de l’économie numérique est le seuil du nexus, c’est-à-dire le lien de rattachement au pays, qui déterminerait quelles entreprises multinationales (EMN) ont une présence imposable. Les grandes économies développées ainsi que les petites économies en développement peuvent être privées de droits d’imposition en raison des seuils des nexus tels que décrits actuellement dans la proposition du Premier Pilier. De plus, même si des seuils plus petits sont adoptés, certains pays peuvent encore se voir refuser des droits d’imposition. Un seuil financier n’a jamais été un paramètre de répartition des droits d’imposition entre les pays. Un ajustement mineur dans le processus de certitude fiscale pourrait résoudre le problème.
Cet article préconise d’accorder le droit d’imposition sur le montant A du Premier Pilier, qui couvre la portion principale des bénéfices imposables de l’économie numérique, à toutes les juridictions du marché, mais d’accorder les droits destinés aux juridictions fiscales concernées uniquement aux pays atteignant les seuils du nexus. Cette approche se traduira par une répartition équitable des droits d’imposition et garantira également qu’il n’y ait pas de charge supplémentaire dans le processus de la certitude fiscale, ce qui sera plus facile pour les pays en développement.
In October of 2020, when India and South Africa proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement, it was meant to increase local manufacturing capacity in these countries. The waiver was proposed as a tool to kick-start prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19. While there is an imminent need to meet a growing supply-demand gap for all medical products, COVID-19 related products are urgently required in poorer nations to contain the pandemic. The waiver has an additional role to play in the larger trade schema. In enabling vaccination of populations across the globe, the waiver would be critical to normalize global trade. The paper below captures the benefits of the waiver and compares it with the existing flexibilities under the trade regime, being compulsory licensing.
The Place of Multilateralism in Tax Reforms: Exclusionary Outcomes of a Purported Inclusive Framework
By Alexander Ezenagu
Countries have come to accept the wide application of international tax rules in both their domestic and international tax affairs. However, where international tax rules fall short of the legitimate expectations of countries and fail to provide necessary guidance, countries may be compelled to seek other sources of guidance. In this paper, it is argued that in the absence and failure of international tax rules to provide adequate guidance and encourage a fair tax system, countries should not be prohibited from exercising their fiscal sovereignty.