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FTAs: Trading away traditional knowledge
New from GRAIN
09 March 2006
FTAs: Trading away traditional knowledge
by GRAIN in collaboration with Dr Silvia Rodríguez Cervantes
In the last couple of years, bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) have become immensely popular with governments disillusioned by the slow pace of trade liberalisation talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). At present there are over 200 FTA negotiating processes under way across the globe. While ostensibly aimed at breaking down trade barriers, these agreements are increasingly targeting indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ traditional knowledge in very real ways.
Traditional knowledge has come up in a dozen or so FTA drafting processes over the last couple of years. In half of those cases, specific provisions on traditional knowledge were signed. The pattern at play is simple. When facing the US, trade negotiators concerned about "biopiracy" try to put limits on when and how researchers and corporations can get patents on biodiversity or traditional knowledge in the United States. When the US is not involved in the trade deal, they carve out space to define their own legal systems of "rights" to traditional knowledge. In all cases, however, these FTAs are framing traditional knowledge as intellectual property - a commodity to be bought and sold.
With no consensus on how to "protect" traditional knowledge at the international level, much less in each of these FTA-negotiating countries, governments are fast committing themselves to a one-track approach through these trade pacts: traditional knowledge as a commodity to be bought and sold under the conventional rules of exclusive private property.
This 16-page briefing is available from GRAIN at http://www.grain.org/briefings/?id=196.
A Spanish translation will be available shortly.
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5-Dec-2016 Médecins Sans Frontières
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30-Nov-2016 No al TTIPCientos de organizaciones europeas y canadienses instan a las/los legisladores a votar en contra del Acuerdo Integral de Economía y Comercio (CETA).
30-Nov-2016 Temp.coJelang perundingan perdagangan bebas ASEAN RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) di Indonesia, organisasi masyarakat sipil dari berbagai negara mulai melayangkan protes kepada pemerintah di negara-negara yang akan menandatangani perjanjian tersebut.
30-Nov-2016Este es un llamamiento urgente de 316 organizaciones de la sociedad civil de los países de Asia y el Pacífico que negocian la Asociación Económica Regional Ampliada para que el contenido tóxico del TPPT no se incorpore al RCEP
29-Nov-2016This is an urgent call by 316 civil society organisations from across the Asian and Pacific countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to reject TPP rules in the RCEP
29-Nov-2016 S2BWe, the undersigned civil society organisations from Canada and Europe, hereby express our deep concern about the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada.
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. Get involved.