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Reforming of International Monetary System, Regulation International Trade And Intellectual Property

The UN is an international organization which aids in international conflicts and resolution between countries. The conflicts are then resolved respectively by the sort of problem, these specific conflicts are solved within committees by experts in the topics. The United Nations (UN) is an organization that was established after WWII on the 26th of June 1945, in order to sustain global peace, neutralizing of threats, dialogue between nations, control of weapons and international cooperation. Joining 193 countries to find solutions for international conflicts the UN tries to maintain international peace and security. The United Nations General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948.[5]

The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants' adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments[6]:fol.9–10 and ratified by their parliaments.[7] Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).

The WTO is attempting to complete negotiations on the Doha Development Round, which was launched in 2001 with an explicit focus on developing countries. As of June 2012, the future of the Doha Round remained uncertain: the work programme lists 21 subjects in which the original deadline of 1 January 2005 was missed, and the round is still incomplete.[8]

The conflict between free trade on industrial goods and services but retention of protectionism on farm subsidies to domestic agricultural sector (requested by developed countries) and the substantiation of fair trade on agricultural products (requested by developing countries) remain the major obstacles. This impasse has made it impossible to launch new WTO negotiations beyond the Doha Development Round. As a result, there have been an increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements between governments.

First Issue

The Benefits of World Trade Organization

  • Helps promote peace within nations
  • Disputes are handled constructively
  • Rules make life easier for all
  • Free trade cuts the cost of living 
  • It provides more choice of products and qualities
  • Trade raises income
  • Trade stimulates economic growth
  • Basic principles make life more efficient
  • Governments are shielded from lobbying
  • The system encourages good governance


The Agriculture Committee
The Committee on Agriculture oversees implementation of the Agriculture Agreement and monitors how WTO members are complying with their commitments. Members are required to share information and may ask each other questions or raise concerns about each other's agricultural policies.

Second Issue

Competitive Policy, Government Procurement And Liberalization of Trade

Competition policy, also known as antitrust policy, refers to a set of laws and regulations often adopted by states and regional bodies in order to maintain a competitive market through combating ‘anti-competitive practices' by private actors (i.e. corporations). Anti-competitive practices include a variety of measures that will be investigat­ed in further detail later, including cartels, collusion, and price-fixing; monopolies and abuse of dominant posi­tion; mergers and acquisitions (in some cases); and others.

The WTO's Role

The Havana Charter, the treaty intended to establish the ITO, included antitrust measures. However, since the ITO never came into effect and the GATT never adopted these measures, competition policy and regulation measures were never brought to the international stage.

The Doha round was supposed to bring competition policy into the WTO, however, the gridlock in the negotiations led the General Council to decide that “[compe­tition policy] will not form part of the Work Programme set out in that Declaration and therefore no work to­wards negotiations on any of these issues will take place within the WTO during the Doha Round.13”

Alongside that same decision, the Council decided that no further negotiations would take place concerning government procurement either. However, as antitrust lawsuits concerning multinational corporations reach an all-time high, it became pertinent to bring these issues back to the negotiations table.

The question that begs to be answered is how would creating a competition enforcement mechanism at the glob­al level be beneficial to free trade? There are numerous types of cases that can demonstrate how a global antitrust mechanism can be more effective than national and regional efforts in ensuring free and competitive markets. Monopoly and abuse of dominant also creates tighter competitions.

Third Issue

Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights

Trade economists argue that in order to achieve real and impartial free trade, countries around the world need to agree on a harmonized intellectual property policy. This would allow firms and individuals to retain exclusive rights over the production or distribution of their intellectual creations for a certain period. These intellectual creations are often protected by three different tools: patents, copyrights, and trademarks.

National laws protecting property rights generally provide a mechanism for an entity to register its intellectual property in order to gain exclusive use rights to the reproduction and redistribution of products or services that include the protected property for a certain number of years outlined by the law. However, without international treaties and agreements making these rights valid across borders, intellectual property rights would be highly weakened. This is where the World Trade Organization comes in.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights – commonly referred to as the TRIPS Agreement – was signed during the Uruguay negotiations round. The agreement is far more comprehensive than many other international property rights agreements unrelated to the WTO or the GATT such as the Berne Convention which was initially signed in 1886. In addition, the agreement introduced a dispute settlement mechanism which we will talk about later on in this section.

Copyrights

The current TRIPS agreements require a minimum 50-year copyright protection regardless of the author's life. In addition, copyrights must be granted without any formality, registration or application. Copyright covers the end product, or the ‘expression' and therefore do not include the underlying method, underlying math and so on.

Copyrights and Software:

A recent case between Oracle and Google about the use of APIs was decided on by a Federal District Court. Google argued initially argued that APIs were not covered by copyright laws, however, a lower court had already decided that APIs were covered under copyright laws. The final ruling stated that although Oracle's API is pro­tected by copyright laws, Google's use was considered “fair use.” This is just an example of how delineating what is covered by copyright laws, what falls under copyright laws and what is considered “fair use” when it comes to software can be challenging. Therefore, it is expected that the WTO General Council specifies how software is covered under copyright laws and what are the laws' exceptions (i.e. fair use in the United States).

Patents

Patents are granted by governments to inventors –individuals or corporations– providing them exclusive rights for manufacturing and producing their invention for a certain period of time. During this period, patent holders may allow others to use their designs and ideas for a fee. Proponents of patents argue that they provide incentive for firms and individuals to spend labour and capital on research and development, hence advancing economic growth and general prosperity. The WTO established general framework for international patent rights through the TRIPS agreement, which requires a minimum of 20 years of exclusive rights to be granted to patent holders.

Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM) and Intellectual Property

As the General Council seeks further jurisdiction for the WTO dispute settlement mechanism over intellectual property through specifying possible exceptions and other measures, it becomes important to ensure that the workings of the mechanism are adequate for ruling on intellectual property cases.

The current DSM allows only countries to file complaints against other countries if they believe that a breach of WTO agreements has taken place. Once a complaint is filed, the WTO Secretariat appoints an ad-hoc Dis­pute Panel general consisting of three individuals. The panel would then hear arguments from the complainant country and the defendant country and then produce a preliminary ruling.

The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), a committee comprised of all WTO Members at an ambassadorial level, would then meet and review the Dispute Panel's ruling and decide whether to approve it or not. However, the DSB uses a ‘reverse consensus' voting mech­anism which means that unless there is a consensus against the Dispute Panel's ruling, it would be approved. The occurrence of a reverse consensus is virtually impossible making the DSB more of a rubber stamp in the settle­ment mechanism.

National Law Compliance Cases

As the WTO expands and specifies intellectual property rights measures within its agreements, it must also consider how the DSM would deal with intellectual property issues. There are three types of cases that the might have to be settled by the DSM. The first type, which is less problematic, is where a country believes that another member state's law does not comply with the agreement. For example, if the WTO agrees that national security exceptions to patents do not include cyber security and a member state passes a law allowing for exceptions based on cyber security issues, other countries have grounds to bring the issue to DSM.

Source:

  1. https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/bop_e/bop_e.htm
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Trade_Organization
  3. http://www.globalissues.org/article/42/the-wto-and-free-trade
  4. http://www.globalexchange.org/resources/WTO
  5. https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/publications_e/wtr15_e.htm
  6. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/pres16_e/pr783_e.htm
  7. http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Global_economics/Trade_protectionism.html
  8. http://www.economicsdiscussion.net/international-trade/arguments-for-and-against-protection-trade-policy


Written by: Sayed Qudrat Hashimy - International Law Student
e-mail: [email protected] / Phone no. +91-9008813333

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