- About bilaterals.org
- How to participate
- Key issues
- Texts of agreements
FTAs could hurt farmers, too
DNA India | 11 December 2009
FTAs could hurt farmers, too
Priyanka Golikeri / DNA
Mumbai: After generic drugmakers, it’s the farmers who are feeling the heat of the intellectual property (IP) regime.
The free trade agreements (FTAs) being negotiated by the government with European Union (EU) and Japan could put the rights of both at stake.
According to individuals closely tracking the FTAs, both EU and Japan are pressing for India to join the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants - 1991 (UPOV).
Should India accede, Indian farmers could turn into pawns in the hands of multi-national companies engaged in crop research.
The FTAs are also pressing heavily for stricter IP measures for patented drugs, including provisions like data exclusivity and patent term extensions, which can impact early entry of low-cost generic drugs.
Shalini Bhutani, regional programme officer, Asia, of GRAIN, a non-profit working to support small farmers, feels the FTAs will cost small farmers their freedom. "FTAs, which mandatorily require countries to become members of UPOV, will lead to further curtailment of the natural rights of the farming communities and make them subject to the economic rights of corporates."
Joining UPOV would crush farmers’ privileges of sharing, exchanging and selling seeds to other farmers.
Blame it on the provision of plant variety protection (PVP), which guarantees IP protection to the plant varieties developed by MNC agriculture companies.
"Farmers will be allowed to sow PVP seeds only on their own fields, and save them for future use only if allowed and on payment of royalty to the agriculture corporates," says a New Delhi-based IP expert.
Bhutani, too, feels signing FTAs will amount to signing away seed and food sovereignty.
Experts feel UPOV goes beyond what is required by the trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which India is a signatory to.
"While laws under TRIPS are draconian, those being institutionalised through FTAs are nothing short of undermining whatever little protection is available to farmers in developing countries," says Bhaskar Goswami from the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security.
"It is still a matter of grave concern whether Indian negotiators will resist attempts like those which call for greater IP and how far they will succeed," says the New Delhi-based IP expert.
News from the movements
UPDATE: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): A charter for deregulation, an attack on jobs, an end to democracyRosa Luxemburg Stiftung have today released an updated version of their publication on TTIP by John Hilary.
26-Feb-2015 El FaradioDesde Izquierda Unida este viernes se ha organizado un acto público en el Colegio Público Cisneros sobre el Tratado de Libre Comercio e Inversiones entre EEUU y la Unión Europea (TTIP).
26-Feb-2015 IGJIndonesia for Global Justice together with Indonesian civil society networks met with the Director of Bilateral Cooperation of Investment Coordinating Board, Fritz Horas Silalahi, in Jakarta to discuss the review of Indonesia Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITS).
25-Feb-2015 Financial ExpressProf Brook K Baker, Professor of Law and Northeastern University, cautions that the Modi government’s accelerating flirtation with the US and its investors is dangerous to hundreds of millions of people worldwide whose lives depend on Indian generics
23-Feb-2015 Planète Non ViolenceUne loi bipartisane est en préparation au Congrés US pour conditionner l’Accord de Libre Echange Transatlantique (TAFTA) à l’interdiction par les pays membres de l’UE de toute campagne BDS (Boycott Desinvestissement Sanctions contre Israël).
20-Feb-2015 Electronic IntifadaTwo members of the US Congress have introduced a bill that would turn a giant trade deal between the EU and US into a devastating weapon against the people of Palestine and all those seeking justice alongside them.
19-Feb-2015 Entrescantos.esEl pasado domingo 8 de febrero, organizada por la Asamblea Popular de Tres Cantos, se celebró la charla TTIP, un tratado que te afecta.
19-Feb-2015 TNIPublic event organised by Transnational Institute, Friends of the Earth Europe and Traidcraft on 4 March 2015 in Brussels
bilaterals.org is a collaborative space to share information and support movements struggling against bilateral trade and investment deals which serve corporations, not people. Multilingual. Global. No one owns it. Open publishing. Join us.