GSO Intern Report — WTO Public Policy Forum 2010, by Jessica Daubner, Smith College

During the WTO Public Forum I attended sessions which, generally speaking, covered:

influences in the multilateral trading system, the WTO and public health in Sub-Saharan Africa, using the global trading system to encourage innovation, and global food security and its governance. For the case study on the influences on the multilateral trading system, I found it interesting that essentially all of the developing countries surveyed did not feel like they had a place at the table at the WTO, and in practice preferred PTAs to the WTO. Additionally, the study’s conclusion that PTAs do not challenge the WTO was especially provocative as it is not a conclusion with which I agree. On the subject of food security, I found the discussion on food scarcity to be the most interesting. For instance, it was presented that in the past the food supply was able to keep up with the growing population through farmers increasing their yields rather than the amount of land farmed.

Moreover, in order to supply food to the growing population of the future, further increases in crop yields attained through innovation in the field are needed, as opposed to farming all of the available land. During the session on innovation in the global trading system, I found the dialogue presented by General Electric’s Thaddeus Burns to be the most stimulating. In particular, I enjoyed listening to his detailing of how research and development has changed at G.E. over the decades and how G.E.’s has been able to take advantage of the TRIPs agreement by exploring emerging markets. Lastly, I found the discussion on the difficulties facing the health care systems of SSA and the WTO’s role in exacerbating or elevating these difficulties fascinating. In particular, the inability of SSA countries to utilize the TRIPs flexibilities due to their lack of capacity – both human capacity, to interpret and implement the flexibilities, and general health care capacity, to reproduce and distribute patented medicines. Overall, my interest in these topics was a result of my lack of knowledge in these areas; it was stimulating to delve into areas with which I was not familiar, especially when so many of the issues carry such create importance for the future world. The WTO and the players that influence the multilateral trading system


Dr. Patrick Low, Director, Economic Research and Statisticvs, WTO

Dr. Alexander Clandra, Trade Knowledge Network, Jakarta, Indonesia

Dr Sebastein Herreros, International Trade and Integration Division, UN Economic Commission

Mr. Riad al Khouri, Lebanese French University, Iraq

Maria Perez-Esteve, WTO

Ann Caploing, university of Melbourne, Australia

Project background

– Preferential trade agreements challenge multi-lateralism

– Do preferential trade agreements undermine WTO?, help or hurt trade liberalization?

– What govt. policy choices have been driving trade policies?

– Back of Uruguay ground – trade policies reaching into domestic policy (greater interest

domestically, opposition to free trade)

– Non state actors – businesses, civil societies orgs., IS organizations, etc

– Govt. doesn’t have commercial knowledge to establish trade policy  alone

– Non state actors realize importance of engaging with govt. to achieve agenda- What are the trade-policy preferences of countries looked at? Interplay between agencies,

groups, etc that pull govts. in different directions?

– Interviews with state and non-state actors (8 developing countries, active in trade

negotiations and WTO – not on peripheral)

– Details of case studies, case study research – differences, but striking commonalities

Latin American Case Studies

 Chile

  • Early trade reformer (in authoritarian context) – over 30 years ago started reform,
  • aggressive unilateral trade liberalization compared to other developing countries
  • Since 1990 continued trade liberalization unilateral, preferentially and with WTO
  • Trade policy dominated by executive branch of govt, weak role given to parliament
  • (all come straight from executive)
  • Business sector is most influential NSA in trade policy – most directly concerned NSA
  • and has better and large technical and financial resources to engage with govt. vs.
  • labor unions
  • NSA involvement peaked in late 1990s/early 2000s with FTA negation with US and
  • FTAA; decreased afterward FTA
  • NSA don’t have clear preference for FTAS over WTO however practice shows they
  • privileged the former

 WTO negotiation seen as remote and slow

 Chile is perceived to have little influence on  them

  • Free trade assumed as given, not much public debate

 Colombia

  • Late trade reformer, GATT in 1981
  • NSA involvement in trade peaked during FTA negotiation with US and decrease after
  • FTA opposition from CSOs had strong political component
  • Strong relationship between Colombia and US
  • Business sector is most influential NSA
  • Both business and organization and other CSOs use different approaches depending
  • on their expectations

 If stand to win: technical approach

 If lose: political channels (public campaign, rallies, lobbying parliaments)

 Mexico

  • Trade opening followed eco crisis (like Chile)
  • But unlike Chile, unilateral opening was later replaced, not complemented, by PTAs
  • Business sector is the most influential NSA
  • NSA involvement in trade peaked during NAFTA negotiations  and decreased after
  • NSA privileged FTA over WTO out of pragmatism not principle (believe larger chance
  • to influence result)
  • Today, there is stronger resistance to further liberalization from business sector than Chile and Colombia

 Commonalities

  • Business sector is most influential type of NSA and most satisfied with consultation
  • opportunities offered (NGOs least satisfied, feel their demand  not incorp into
  • process)
  • NSA involvement peaked during FTA negotiations with US later recededo Broad CSO coalition were assembled to oppose negotiation but were later
  • disbanded or lost influence
  • Bush presidency after 9/11 = politically charged time, broad org of NGOs opposed
  • but after
  • All NSAs see WTO negotiations as remote, slow, and not influenced by smaller
  • players, so privilege FTAs

 Differences

  • Trade policy much less controversial in Chile than in Colombia and Mexico
  • More awareness of value of WTO rules in Mexico than in Chile and Colombia
  • because of dispute settlement

East Asian Case Studies

 Background

  • Share similarities
  • GATT signatories (RI – 1950 and Thai – 1952)
  • ASEAN founders, democracy and committed to open economic system
  • 97/98 economic crisis – liberalization and anti-FTA movement
  • Democracy and anti-FTA trade policy setting
  • Weak trade strategy and incapable to communicate trade policy effectively to public
  • Private sector is only key stakeholder
  • RI and Thai – different domestic settings, but similar outcomes

 Indonesia

  • MTNS, regional and bilateral FTAs – equal importance
  • Primary preference fro regional and bilateral FTA sae least favoured
  • ASEAN – modest negative impacts and committed to become a people orientated
  • org
  • MTN – RI’s long engagement with MTNs, uncertainty about bilateral FTAs and
  • global-national CSOs linkages
  • Bilateral FTAs – accelerate liberalization and lack of resources and expertise to deal
  • with numerous trade negotiations
  • Do NSA preferences affect govt. policies? Not necessarily!
  • Indonesia govt. overwhelmed with current number of PTAs in front of them,
  • preference for multilateralism

 Thailand

  • NSA and liberalisation issues following 97/98 economic crisis (movement against
  • IMF,
  • CSOs are formidable forces during Thaksin leadership
  • FTA Watch as a key network to oppose Thaksin’s FTA policies (Thaksin’s actively
  • pursued bilateral PTAs fall in 2006)
  • Constitution Article 190 (2007) – transparency and inclusiveness in trade policy
  • making
  • The issue is not the FTAs, but the way in which they are formulated, negotation and
  • decided
  • NSAs less critical towards ASEAN and Asian-wide RTAs as well as South-South
  • cooperation

 SE Asia and Trade Forum Choiceo Regional and South-south economic cooperation are viewed as better by NSAs

  • Modest progress of liberalization and potential negative impacts
  • People orientated principle in ASEAN cooperation
  • Trust and openness in trade policy-making
  • Bilateral PTAs divert attention from regional priorities and multilateralism

Middle East Case Study

 Jordan

  • Smallest, least significant of the cases
  • Relative WTO newcomer: accession in 2000

 100 % tariff bounty (14% avg)

 Simple avg mfn applied rate 11%

o Most extensive PTA web in region

 Major agreements with EU, US

 Still pursues PTAs actively (made important country politically although it is

trading wise)

  • Only middle East country that has FTA with US besides Israel
  • Forum question not of great importance

 Non trade aspects of negotiations forum significant (aftermath of 9/11,

political move – not good reason to made a trade agreement)

 Negotiation now becoming important (EU) part of Mediterranean group

  • Jordan’s accession to WTO, coming out to globalisation and to world = important
  • politically and now economically as an after thought
  • Findings:

 NSA see forum choice as exogenous

 Little NSA engagement multilaterally (not much at all, King and


 Some NSA engagement in PTAs emerging

 NSAs  traditionally quiescent, but…

 More involvement after 2008 crisis

 More sophistication and exposure

 Trade policy centralized

 Parliamentary back seat in policy-making

 Media weakness in trade (extreme weakness in Jordan, signed agreements

and then later found out implications of agreements – huge trade


 WTO and Doha a non-issue in Jordan, PTAs becoming an issue

African Case Studies

 Kenya

  • Industrialized process post independence
  • Heavily dependent on agriculture exports
  • Unusual by African standard, had significant intra-Africa trade interest – regional
  • trade interests
  • African regional integration scene has lack of coordination, complications govt and
  • NSA involvement
  • Focus on regional trade agreements (RTAs)
  • Prior to 2003, consult business groupso CSOs clamored for involvement after 2003 and new govt. but not very determinant
  • in policy formulation
  • Quite a few international NSA, govt. mixed feelings towards group (new lobbying
  • front on part of developed state – don’t like)
  • NSAs have not with exception of business sector, price-taker phenomenon
  • Regional agreements are much more significance, nothing happens at WTO

 South Africa

  • Participated in Uruguay round as developed country, but changed with govt. change
  • Believes can effect WTO, policy option to get active in WTO, aspires for more
  • significant
  • ANC govt. focused on regional agreements (North-South: EU)
  • Designing regional agreements politically to position itself in Africa
  • Multiple objectives in integration movements
  • New govt. isn’t sure about trade liberalisation more towards industrial (slow pace,
  • breaks on deals with US)
  • Rivalry between stakeholders (NEDLAC tries to bring together stakeholders and try
  • to shape policy)
  • NSAs approved of structure, but believe that determination where to put emphasize
  • in post-apartheid era

Geneva-Based NSAs

– Interviewed Geneva-based NSA actors, predictable findings generally

– Internationally orientated NSAs, business orgs, environments orgs, trade unions

– Predictable views

  • Regardless of own interest base, expressed strong views of importance of
  • multilateralism and through WTO (rules bases more appealing that power based,
  • developing countries are accounted for, networking, getting coactions together)
  • Surprise: Preference didn’t permeate  outside of Geneva, offices in case study
  • countries didn’t get articulated in developing countries – disconnect

– Government and Forum choice

  • Forum choice not always open one
  • Many govts have liberalized unilaterally (lack of concern for reciprocity b/c they are
  • too small to extract concession from major trade partners – they are price takers)
  • Many economic, political, politically economy objectives cant be pursed at WTO
  • (security objectives – regional allows economies of scale to develop but doesn’t
  • have full force of competition with preferential trade agreement)
  • Most countries had strong interest in negotiating PTAs with their most important
  • trade partners (often in face of competition from other PTAs, domino effect)
  • Strong regional story emerges, determined in part by trade patterns but also by
  • considerations of regional solidarity
  • Govts conditioned to negotiate preferentially rather than multilaterally
  • WTO seen as remote, things decided exogenously, cant get much done

NSA’s Views  Overall of Forum choice

– WTO is too remote and too big to influence

– What happens in the WTO is less important to their interest than the outcome of PTA

negotiations with minor exceptions

– In some cases , WTO seen as more protective of developing country interest because it

delivers less market openings

– Others see WTO rules as privileging developed country’s interest- With few exceptions – e.g. subsidies – little appreciation of the rule-making role of WTO

Beyond the Building/Stumbling Block Debate…

– Based on finding, proliferation of regional trade agreements is supplementing or replacing

multilateral trade agreements?

– Study concluded that PTA and MTNs seen as complements, not substitutes

– PTAs allowed countries to pursue interests where:

  • Discrimination was intrinsic to their objectives (e.g. political, political economy)
  • Their objectives were not easily attainable in the WTO (e.g. locking in market access
  • with key trade partners)

– WTO seen as less relevant to their trade policy interests, except for issues that could only be

dealt with multilaterally (e.g. subsidies)

– No longer EU and US driven Uruguay rounds

– Role of regional groupings play more active role in negotiations

  • African group
  • GRULAC – significant for a while
  • Political instrument for small countries, create solidarity and search for commonality
  • in interest
  • Arab League – 22 countries, most aren’t even in process to become part of WTO
  • AFTA – Arab Free Trade Agreement, liberalization taking place – common interests
  • Danger of huge geographical group that doesn’t make sense
  • Only effective on narrow grounds, irrelevant in WTO because cannot negotiate a
  • regional tariff

Jordan Sub Case

– Think tanks working on financing that work against developing countries

– Jordanian govt. trying to regulate financing of NGOs that may be financed by other countries


Lessons for WTO

– Need to encourage debate about core functions of the WTO

– More work to be done in raising awaremess of the value of global rules in a world of

multiple venues for trade policy

– Are rules exogenously determined by a few major trading partners or is rule-making a

process for generating global public goods (paralysis of Doah rounds

– Need to understand the views/preferences of major traders.

Misc. Discussion

– Regional and bilateral agreements always 90% strategic, 10% economic — choice of forum

depends what you are actually negotiating about

– Doha Round not terribly active so NGOs not terribly interested, put resources else where

(Seattle and Uruguay rounds there was interest)

– Biased results through time snap shot?

– More narrow interest, more narrow lobbying

– Chile and Latin American Cases

  • Civil society org dealing with behind border interest – deal with services, public role
  • of state
  • Preferred sources for CSOs are in preferential and bilateral front
  • Cant expect NSAs to lobby for global public goodso Major tariff changes – most developing countries already have low tariffs already unilaterally changed tariff structure – but exporting from developing country to industrialized country

– None of cases studies showed services

Small farmers and global food-security governance: Waiting for coherence


François Riegert, Representative of France to WTO

Richard Kozul-Wright, Director Unit of UECIDC of UNCTAD

Paulo Estivallet de Mesquita, Mission of Brazil to WTO

Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam International

Trends in Agriculture

 Low prices and global surpluses: the old normal

  • Trade, support and investment policy space in a low price environment

 Shift towards a higher world price environment?

  • Doubling of food prices in nominal terms over the last twenty years (adoptions of Uruguay round)
  • High energy prices, climate change to contribute to increase

 Rapid rise of hungry in recent year

 Many are net food buyers are in quantitative terms, parallel increase in undernourished with


 Wheat export restrictions and world price action 2010

  • Export restrictions have massive impact on international prices
  • Russian embargo drove up future prices, very robust price environment
  • Food security: restrictions on domestic prices, mean prices international go up

 Export restrictions (and import subsidies) and world price action

 Importing countries are stepping up subsidies to keep domestic prices stable

 Are developing countries’ farmers able to share in the benefits of higher prices?

  • Price hike in 2007/08, import subsidies and export restrictions
  • Inputs unavailable or too expensive

 ODA to sub-Saharan Africa

  • No limit as long as subsidies are for poor, for food security
  • Not policy space that is constraining development agenda, but willingness to fill policy
  • space


 Low price environment (the old normal)

  • Numerous provision and generally ample policy space to manage food security
  • concerns under low price environment
  • Ample aid and support policy space but policy space remained largely unfilled

 High price environment(new normal)

  • no binding trade discipline to circumscribe trade policy measures in a high price
  • environment
  • ample aid support policy space but policy space unfilled

 can the DDA help fill the space for aid and investment/can the dda still help reduce the

asymmetries in trade disciplines?

o only if aid invest space will be filled poor farmers will be in a position to share in

benefits of freer trade: the very idea of DDAHow to reduce food insecurity?

 Investment in agriculture in developing countries, remedy under investment in areas

 Support for research and development

 Land area, ceding of land area to foreign companies (practice that seems to be developing,

but gives rise to opposition)

Volatility of Markets

 Functioning of markets for derivatives for all materials

 Development of ag prices for ag products

 Transparency of market, storage and stockage

 Insurance , instruments to provide coverage and governance

How does it fit into WTO?

– FAO and WTO have differing approaches, confrontation

– GATT rules

– Provisions of WTO: agreements on commodities –article 28

– Governance: not always shared approach, need for coherence among parties involved


– Coherence starts at home, full and proper domestic procedure that are brought to

international level

– Trade rules and food security

– Little restriction for developing countries, export subsidies, tariffs, ample space for domestic

support, ample scope for domestic policies – don’t feel constrained by existing disciplines

– Low prices prevailed in round, in the event that prices skyrocket as in 2008, how are

international prices are going to behave in the long run

– 1980s, 90s the old normal

– Export taxes and export restrictions, in case of long trend of rising commodity prices, fiscal

easing allowed

– Any export ban is bad for the country (soy bean, US  still hasn’t recovered), may rule out of

international market

– High energy prices, lead fertilizing industry to pocket subsidies

– Most of UN recommendation not legally binding, Brazil has put food security in constitution

– Fear that WTO has spewed system, puts developing countries in harm if methods are

challenged, rarely occurring


– 1986 accession to GATT, start of Uruguay

– 2 years later start,  reducing duties and today have practically disappeared

– GATT 94, in 2000 were not abided by- more subsides more supports

  • Movement from rural to cities
  • Impoverished

– Protectionist measures, hurt Mexico

– Recently, tried to consolidate land in agriculture reform

  • But competition makes it more difficult to increase productivity
  • Social policies for small producers to help increase their productivity
  • Give assistance for commercial producers (irrigation system, water, etc)
  • Concentration in commercialization and in public goods, fertilizers,

India- Growing at 8 to 9 %

– 0.2 % to grow up to 4.5% by 2011

– Control high inflation that is harming consumers

– Growth dimension of India

  • 46 million households, jobs provided for woman – gender equality within rural areas
  • Food security, integrating network
  • Ceral self-sufficientcy for inda is critical for population of 1 billion
  • Consume large portion of world’s cereals
  • Public distribution system – people living in extreme proverty goals to decrease

– Number who suffer from hunger

– Welfare of over 600 million poor farmers, subsistent farmers (no access to financial

markets), only producing for own consumption

– Need for stable price system, volatility over last few years has hurt producers and consumers

– Speculator causing greater volatility in market

G20 Potential Agricultural Issues/ Reform of European Ag Policy 2011

– Relay race to get to issues, trying for coherence

  • France expected to take global role in defending trade policies as it will host the next

meetings of G8 and G20.

 President Sarkozy committed to addressing food security at summits

– Increasing prices because planet is overpopulated, increasing incomes mean replacing

vegetable proteins with animal proteins that are more land intensive in farming

– New technological innovation with recombinant DNA as a possible solution

– In future may face famine in large numbers

– Land grab and land seizures: most of available land in developing countries with

underdeveloped agricultures, puts pressure on countries to produce food for its own


– Developing countries agriculture is heavily taxed because govt wants to keep prices low, if a certain

– Perceived scarcity of land:

  • Is there actually a world scarcity of land?

 No there isn’t, it is there but is not being used

  • Cropland in the past hasn’t expanded that much in the past for the world on a
  • whole, higher production didn’t actually come from more land – came from high
  • yield and productivity, incremental production from incremental productivity
  • Comparison with coal:

 have enough coal for next 300 year but don’t want to have to use it = using

land would set forth enormous amount of carbon emissions as would using

earth’s coal reserves

– Fertilizer prices increasing, fertilizer industry at capacity: misallocation of fertilizer (China)

– Better quality seeed, better infrastructure, better land structure system

– In developing countries taxation through undervalued or overvalued exchange rate

Regulating Markets

– In past product agreements that dealt with mastering the supply- Can’t find overarching solution for everything, every product has a different market,

pragmatic approach to each product

– Speculation in food, acceptable or not?

  • Need to regulate but markets and their liquidity can only operate if there are
  • speculators
  • short term markets, speculators take the risk
  • as in financial markets there is a need for regulation – two cases related to a certain
  • degree

Beyond the Doha Round? Shaping the global trading system to encourage innovation and solve global challenges


Roberto Carvalho de Azevedo, Brazilian Representative to WTO

Thaddeus Burns, Senior IP Council of G.E.

Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, ICTSD

William Reinsch, National Foreign Trade Council of U.S.

Thaddeus Berns, G.E.

 Intellectual property is not objective, it is a tool to use in a way to do business in a

sustainable way, to disperse product

 R and D, was a closed environment twenty years ago, but the internet has changed it

significantly: information is characterized by degree of distribution

 Rather than one r and d facilities there are now 5 (Munich, India, Brazil, New York, )

 It you don’t transfer technology you don’t make money, and IP allows that information to

flow out

 IP regulatory mechanism that allows businesses to have assurance that IP rights will be

respected across boarders, especially in emerging markets

 TRIPs gave confidence to invest in markets that in the past might not have even had a patent

system, highly distributed through global supply chain

 World has become much more complete and interrelated in global supply chain

 Evolution in a way of doing business: 1/3 U.S., 1/3 Asia but started as U.S

 Beyond Doha, climate change = multilateral trading system has something to contribute

here (environmental goods and services)

 Tariff schedules at 10 or 15% are barriers, not part of world market

 Technology development and diffusion (esp in health care)

  • Diagnostics in health care in emerging markets
  • Medial care designed for better availability instead of better quality
  • Growth markets in emerging countries, so price point has to decrease from technology developed for developed markets

Mr. Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

 Innovation is focus for sustainable development and facing global challenges, part of

solution to challenges

 Countries moving towards fostering innovation to acquire development goals, major

companies based off of innovation, Google, etc

 Shaping global system to promote innovation: create robust national innovation center

(how?, no easy task) Promoting higher IP and IP standards some view, others role of open source  esp. in IT sector

 Look beyond tradition r & d, look at innovation as a system

 Innovation is inseparable from transition of technology in developing countries\

 In TRIPS council and Doha Round, no complete

 How to balance fruits of innovation and access to innovation

 IPR are obstacle to transfer green technologies to developing countries,

 Insure IPRs but also access to technologies

 Facilitate dispersing of green technologies to developing countries

 Six leading innovators include all of the traditional developed countries in clean energy

technology, same as pharmaceuticals while developing economies lag behind

 India, many technologies are filed through subsidiaries through Japan and U.S. which blurs


Bill Reinsch, President National Foreign Trade Council, U.S.

 Innovation and IP dominate topic

 Look at innovation and IP issues

 Globalisation of supply chains: main things that leads to an agenda for future WTO


 Current system has custom and regulation failures, and faulty safety regulations not

based in sound science

 Mini round on food and product safety, for food and product standard

 Companies are increasingly conducting R and d across boarders – do research around

the clock, take advantage of time zones

 Controls on internet is not just censorship issue, but commercial issue – r and d

increasingly transmitted through internet (data clouds), largely untested territory

because its fast developing

 Lack of adequate IP protection in trading system

 Since Uruguay round, proliferation of bilateral FTA, debate whether they detract from

true multilateral or whether they are beneficial for free trade (don’t meet requirements

of article 24 ) review FTAs more

 Climate change negotiations- countries not waiting, EU has a system in place, and

Australia and US debating, internal greenhouse gas policies

o Will contain border measures, then WTO dispute process will have to get


 First priority to conclude round


 Countries can use their own standards in customs regulations to effect trade policy, rapidly

growing problem in multiple sectors (not just food)

 WTO is increasingly is not a standard setting body, negotiators left room for others to adopt

stricter policies

 No way the WTO can avoid looking into issues because of the way the agreement was


 Bank transfer and money transfers – WTO is not regulatory institute

 WTO regulates duties not taxes, duties not applied to commercial transfer, are taxes being

used as a way of protectionism

 Transfer of technology: lead up to Seattle endued up in mandate of DDA, technology is

regulated by IPR, protects rights and give exclusive rights to technology but paradox in

asking them to give technology fro free Give effect to obligations side to TRIPs agreement, trips grants owner of a patent exclusive

rights to owner of IRP, but there is an obligation that you have to disclose technology and

production process of technology for time period at least

 Brazil during AIDs crisis, govt. broke licensing of a couple of medicines that they had granted

licences of to be distributed in public health system, but took almost 2 year to figure out

how to produce that medicine – description on patent was insufficient, hide several of

production steps

 Effective way of disseminating technology had to address the two sides of the IP system, to

ask to transfer technology for sake of being generous it doesn’t work

 Enforce rights and obligations of TRIPs could get farther

 Facilitate trade in certain types of good so that technology development occurs: r and d,

shifts in capacity

 Tech transfer in UN system based on flawed view of how it takes place, govts don’t own

govts, it is held and understood by private enterprises – to think that r and d labs will

disclose information based agreement that only applies to govts

 Claims on patent are not only place where know how of technology lies, but in people’s


 Allow academic research to be translated into projects

 Incentive for business is not to horde technology, but not to competitors to people who

want to compete, can share technology with customers, other in reasonable way

 Two times when world took steps back from economic integration (fall of Roman empire and

after WW1)

 Improvements in information technology and transfer of money and information of all sorts

 95 % of the world’s consumers lie outside of the U.S. , have to look at outside economies

especially in mature economy that U.S is considered

 WTO role is to press forward and address things spoken about

 WTO response to financial crisis:

  • Had implications all over the place – economic crisis
  • WTO had important part to play in avoiding return of protectionist measures if not
  • for current disciplines – tariffs did not increase much (most countries were bound)
  • after 1930 crisis tariffs did increase
  • As countries make commitments under financial sector – don’t have mold one
  • agreements/commitments
  • Very long term convergence of financial regulations could harmonize like good
  • markets that converged for the global market
  • G20 and Basel 3 have more potential to solve these issue


 Patent pools

  • Number of standards that need to be brought together
  • Other business models it is problematic, like pharma sector (licensing agreement)
  • Cross-licensing with competitor can assemble more complete product, reciprocity

 Prizes

  • Prizes strong incentives for academic institutions , culture to aspire to prizes such as
  • Nobel Prize
  • Businessman, no, not appealing, not for private enterprises
  • Effectiveness depends what motivates business or entity

Concluding points

 Priorities to conclude Doha round, future orientated Integrated approach to trade and innovation, some already being dealt with TRIPS, SBF and TBT, technology transfer

WTO rules and public health in developing countries: The “Achilles’ heel “or a pillar for



Miriam Omolo, Institute of Economic Affairs, Kenya

Atul Kaushik, CUTS Geneva Resource Center & CUTS International

Makiese Kinkela Augusto, Mission of Angola to UN

Kwame Owino, Institute of Economic Affairs, Kenya

Report: WTO Rules & Public Health in Developing Countries: The “Ächilles’Heel” or Pillar for


 Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) joined WTO with hopes of translating trade into development

 Face challenge in creating functional health care systems, some WTO rules hurt

development of these systems

 So do WTO rules cripple SSA or provide for its growth?

 Problem

  • Developing countries look to achieve millennium development goals
  • Developing countries in Africa have no been able to do it
  • Many SSA countries with poor health care systems are part of WTO
  • In Doha round, development a large part of agenda

 Public Health

  • Govt’s responsibility – stewardship by govt. key in quality of nation’s health system
  • WHO Africa’s main responsibilities of health system

 Service provision-personnel and non-personnel services

 Resource generation by investment in human capital, land, capital

 Financing

 Stewardship

 Public Health Challenges in SSA

  • Poor access – rural people usually have to travel so far that hospitals only associated
  • with death, many can’t afford it, quality of service questionable
  • Poor information systems – even births and deaths often don’t get recorded
  • Poor access to medicines – much improvement in medicine policies, but still
  • insufficient medical supplies, high cost of medicines for 3 most common killers in
  • SSA (HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria)
  • Shortage of health care workers – brain drain/migration of workers

 Financing

  • In 2000, countries committed to allocate at least 15% of budget to health care
  • Some countries have exceeded that amount
  • Households bare greatest cost for care though still
  • Est. that $34 per person a year is needed to provide essential health care, Africa had
  • $58 but huge disparities among countries

 Health Indicators

  • Derived from mortality rates
  • Mauritius highest life expectancy (73), Sierra Leone lowest (41)
  • MDG indicators in Africa high compared to Americas & Europe

 WTO Agreements Effecting Health

  • MFN (Most Favored Nation)
  • Agreement on Agriculture & Tabacco
  • TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade)o SPS (Sanitary & Phytosanitary Standards)
  • TRIPs (Trade Related Intellectual Property)
  • GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services)
  • GATT Article XX (b)

 African govts. have major role in health care systems, but also face supply constraints which

WTO can address

  • Availability of medicines

 Africans prices much higher than intl’reference price

 Patenting causes high prices

 TRIPs = new medicines patented in countries that usually produce generic

essential medicines so generics on available after 20 year patent is over

 Patented medicines generally more expensive

 With no access to essential medicines, people use counterfeit and poor

quality substitutes which are often harmful

  • Tobacco

 Tobacco related diseases and deaths are emerging problem

 Liberalization in tobacco products has had negative impact on health in low

income countries

 By 2030, 70% of tobacco related deaths will be in developing countries

 Taxation most effective policy to reduce tobacco use

 TRIPs Flexibilities in SSA

  • Compulsory licensing

 govt. allows patented product or process to create it to be produced

without consent of owner

  • Parallel Imports & Exhaustion of Rights

 Allows parallel/grey-market imports (not counterfeit products or illegal


  • Limits on extent of test data production
  • Limitation on grant of new use pharma patents
  • Research and early work exceptions

 Use of TRIP Flexibilities

  • Compulsory licences and parallel imports used
  • TRIPs flexibilities need to be put into national laws but SSA modelled patent laws
  • after Europe or US – lack of expertise to put flexibilities into national law & technical
  • assistance give focuses on compliance with TRIPs
  • Lack the infrastructure and capacity to use TRIPs flexibilitie