Plants, Power, and Intellectual Property in the New Global Governance Regimes
New global environmental institutions, particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, have become staging grounds for resistance to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and to the market-based management of genetic resources that the WTO supports. The origins, limitations, and conflicts of WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement are elaborated. In contrast to the WTO, the CBD establishes an arguable basis in international law for taking non-economic criteria into account in biotechnology regulation. It recognizes the sovereignty of states over genetic and other resources within their territories. The U.S. government's commitment to promote the international expansion of its agricultural, pharmaceutical, and technology industries prevailed over U.S. environmentalists' desire for a comprehensive conservation treaty. Enforcement of intellectual property rights at the local level may be difficult in the face of growing defiance by social movements.
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