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Blow to the intellectual property rules of the Andean Community

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Bolpress | 14-8-08

Colombia, Ecuador and Peru violate the Cartagena Agreement for an FTA

Blow to the intellectual property rules of the Andean Community

(Agencies) .- In the early hours of Thursday, representatives of the governments of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru agreed to let Peru legislate intellectual property on its own to accommodate its Free Trade Agreement with United States, on the margins of Decision 486 of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN). Bolivia voted against this move in order to preserve the principles and foundations of the CAN.

The Peruvian government tried for several months to relax Decision 486 of the sub-regional bloc, a set of common Andean norms on intellectual property. The Peruvian government threatened to withdraw from the CAN to win approval of its request.

Decision 486 regulates various issues on the use of pharmaceutical patents, intellectual property rights and industrial property rights.

Article 26 of the Cartagena Agreement provides that all reforms that affect all partners should be adopted by consensus and not by majority vote. It holds that decisions can only be adopted through the favourable vote of the membership, without any negative votes.

Despite this, three countries virtually put an end to the subregional intellectual property regime without taking into account Bolivia’s opposition.

Bolivia will ask the Andean Court of Justice to declare the vote invalid and correct the "aberration", said Deputy Minister of International Economic Relations of Bolivia Pablo Guzman.

According to Guzman, the reforms sought by Peru will benefit transnational drug companies, which will now be able to patent biological resources and even the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.

The Bolivian vice minister does not understand why the delegation of Ecuador supported the vote in favour of Peru since the government in Quito has repeatedly declared that it does not agree with FTAs.

President Evo Morales will use his visit to Paraguay, on the occasion of the inauguration of Fernando Lugo as new head of state, to discuss the issue with his counterpart from Ecuador.

In addition, the government of Bolivia is studying the possibility of filing a motion with the current president of the CAN, the representative of Ecuador Rafael Correa, to dismiss the Secretary General of the bloc, Freddy Ehlers, for violation of the statutes of the regional body.

 source: Bolpress (original Spanish)