Intellectual Property Rights in the EU-CARIFORUM EPA: Lessons for SADC

Image: Flickr, Dimitar Nikolov
Image: Flickr, Dimitar Nikolov

SAIIA will host a half day workshop on the treatment of intellectual property rights in the SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 20th March 2009. 

Of the six African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) regions negotiating EPAs with the EU, only the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) managed to conclude a fully fledged agreement covering goods, services, intellectual property and other issues by January 2008.  All the other ACP countries only signed interim EPAs (IEPAs) with limited subject coverage and negotiations continue.

Questions may be raised in respect of the scope to which intellectual property (IPR) provisions of the CARIFORUM EPA comply with the obligations under the WTO agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). The implementation of the TRIPS Agreement already raises many challenges for developing countries including the SADC EPA countries (three of which are Least Developed Countries (LDCs)). Some argue that the inclusion of IPR provisions in EPAs may have serious socio- economic developmental impacts for ACP countries. The EPA negotiations also have the potential to harmonize ACP standards to EU regulatory norms through proposals being put forward by the EU. It is not clear that this level of regulatory rigour is appropriate to African development realities nor whether it would be realistically implementable.

There is a possibility that IPR provisions in the EU- CARIFORUM EPA may be used as model and therefore influence the negotiations of other EPA regions. Though the SADC -EU IEPA does not cover IPRs it is possible that parties may in future decide to include an IPR chapter to the eventual EPA agreement. Should this happen, what provisions of the CARIFORUM EPA should be included or excluded? What are the opportunities and challenges for the SADC EPA group in negotiating IPRs? What is the potential developmental impact of the CARIFORUM EPA type provisions on SADC countries in the areas of food security, access to medicines and biological diversity?

This roundable discussion will be led by Ms. Dorica Phiri who present a brief and incisive study on the above issues.

The event is scheduled as follows:

Programme

Chair:                         Dr Samantha Gregory, Samantha Gregory Attorneys

09h45 – 10h00             Registration

10h00 – 10h05             Welcoming Remarks:  Peter Draper, SAIIA

10h05 – 10h40            Economic Partnership Agreements and Intellectual Property Rights
protection:Challenges for the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) region
Ms. Dorica Phiri, SAIIA
To download the presentation click here [pdf]

10h40 – 11h00            View from the European Community: Mr. Jorge Peydro Aznar, EC Delegation

11h00 – 11h40            Panel Discussion (10 minutes each)
                                 Mr. Marumo Nkomo, Adams & Adams, South Africa,
Mr. Enga Kameni, SADC Parliamentary Forum, Namibia
Ms. Anne Stern, Independent IP Expert, South Africa

11h40 – 12h30            Open Discussion

12h30 – 13h30            Lunch

Closure

* This programme is provisional, and subject to change without prior notification.

 

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