Can TRIPS serve as an enforcement device for developing countries in the WTO?

  • Subramanian A
  • Watal J
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Developing countries assert that the limited size of their markets renders conventional trade retaliatory actions by them ineffective. The complaint is that they have no effective mechanism for forcing developed countries into compliance with WTO obligations that have market access consequences for developing countries. This paper proposes a design for the use of TRIPS as a retaliatory weapon in WTO trade disputes that would overcome some of these difficulties. The proposal has many advantages: it is feasible, effective, legal, and has certain attractive attributes that are absent in conventional trade retaliation. The very presence of the threat of such retaliatory action in domestic intellectual property legislation could lead to improved compliance by developed countries.

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  • Arvind Subramanian

  • Jayashree Watal

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