south-north development monitor SUNS [Email Edition]

SUNS #4437, Wednesday, 19 May 1999


Trade: Third World entitled to more time for plant protection (Gurdial Singh Nijar, Penang)

Finance: CCL, A New Weapon in IMF Arsenal? (Irfan ul Haque, Geneva)

Africa: Free Trade Zone by the year 2000? (IPS, Nairobi)

Africa: Loses millions through capital flight (IPS, Addis Ababa)

Latin America: Church calls for forgiveness of foreign debt (IPS, Quito)

Environment: Defending water rights (IPS, San Jose)

Brazil: Cattle disease hits export hopes (IPS, Rio de Janeiro)

Yugoslavia: NATO cluster bombs spray death (IPS, Belgrade)


Some excerpts from selected articles:

Trade: Third World entitled to more time for plant protection

Gurdial Singh Nijar*

Penang May 18 (TWN) -- Developing countries are being bombarded by a barrage of advice from a variety of sources to adopt laws and regulations to provide protection for plant varieties under Art. 27 (3)(b) of the TRIPS agreement, and do this by end 1999, even before the mandated review of the provisions are taken up and completed.

Article 27(3)(b) requires developing countries to provide sui generis protection for plant varieties, if they do not provide patents as such.

A proper reading of the various parts of the TRIPS agreement, and a reasonable interpretation of the provisions suggest that developing countries are entitled to more time to fulfil their obligation under Article 27(3)(b) to provide for the protection of plant varieties.

Article 65 (4) of TRIPS states that if a country is obliged to extend product patent to areas for the first time as at the date when the Agreement came into force, 1 January 1995, then it may delay the application of the provision for an additional period of 5 years.

This is in addition to the period of 5 years and 11 years given to developing countries and least developed countries respectively under Article 65(1) and (2).

Countries can consider providing protection for plant varieties by patents. This is set out in Article 27(3)(b) of TRIPS. UPOV 1991 also allows for protection by patents. This will be a product patent. So countries that are considering this as one of the options, need more time to set up their infrastructure, change of laws, etc. The transitional arrangements recognise this and provide for a further 5 years.

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