"It's not about my politics. Something happened way to quick. A bunch of men who played it sick. They divide and conquer" -- Husker Du

Sunday, October 28, 2007

How serious is Mandelson?

Last Tuesday, the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council found a solution for the standoff among the three institutions about the issue of Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) flexibilities. The parliamentary vote clears the way for EU member states to ratify the amendment to the WTO Agreement onTRIPS agreed by the global trade body in December 2005. This happened after EU Commissioner on Trade Peter Mandelson assured the parliament that in the Economic Partnership Agreements and "in other future bilateral and regional agreements with poor developing countries, the Commission is not asking and will not ask for provisions which could affect access to medicines or undermine the TRIPS flexibilities contained in the Doha declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health."

It remains to be seen how sincere Mandelson is. Earlier this year he wrote two letters to Thailand admonishing it for making use of compulsory licenses -- the very same TRIPS "flexibilities" Europe pledged never to undermine.... Moreover, the reference to "poor developing countries" makes me wonder whether he wants to make a distinction between the poorest countries and those that are classified by the World Bank as middle-income countries, like for example... Thailand. Is Mandelson really serious? Wait and see...

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