[Ip-health] WTO: Spotlight on the United States at the Trade Policy Review (December 2012)

Thirukumaran Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue May 7 01:37:28 PDT 2013

On 18 December 2012 and 20 December 2012, the World Trade Organization (WTO) undertook a trade policy review of the United States of America. All members of the WTO are subject to review under the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM). The questions raised by WTO Members during the US TPR touched upon on compulsory licensing (including cases of judicial compulsory licensing following eBay v. MercExchange), copyright (Golan v. Holder), the Special 301 report and the Medicines Patent Pool. On 30 April 2013, the WTO released the records of the meeting including WT/TPR/M/275. In addition, KEI obtained the 374 paged room document RD/TPR/108 (17 December 2012) which contains advance written questions submitted by WTO Member and the responses provided by the United States. These questions and responses are expected to be reproduced in document WT/TPR/M/275/Add.1.

Although the activities of the WTO TRIPS Council receive much scrutiny during discussions of controversial issues such as ACTA, TPP, public health and tobacco plain packaging, the WTO’s trade policy reviews have not traditionally attracted the same level of attention. While discussions within the Trade Policy Review Mechanism are often routine in nature, this is not always the case – as this post will highlight.

The following piece is a walkthrough of the December 2012 trade policy review of the United States in the context of IPRs and access to knowledge. The questions raised by Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, India and others sought clarity on US trade policy in light of its WTO commitments. Some of these Members framed their questions in order to find evidence of policy coherence between United States' insistence on ratcheting up IP norms in free trade agreements, on the one hand, while publicly supporting the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health and advocating for HIV treatment scale up. The following extracts are taken from room document RD/TPR/108.


Please see the following link to read this blog:



Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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