Edited by Xuan Li and Carlos M. Correa
Chapter 4: WCO SECURE: Legal and Economic Assessments of the TRIPS-plus-plus IP Enforcement
Xuan Li INTRODUCTION For many developed countries, one of the important strategies to enhance and maximize their economic benefits is through formulation of international IP standards, which may impede the development of countries in the South. Following the footprint of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), one of the most profitable deals for developed countries in international norm-setting exercise, some developed countries are now pushing for TRIPS-plus standards on IP enforcement as a new strategic priority. However, developed countries have met well-founded resistance from the developing countries in IP negotiations within the framework of the WTO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Given the sticky situation in traditional negotiation forums to achieve their TRIPS-plus IP enforcement initiatives, developed countries have strategically shifted the battlefield to other international forums, notably the World Customs Organization (WCO), which is relatively unknown to the international community as a forum for setting IP regulations and has actually no mandate to negotiate intellectual property legislation. Under this forum-shopping strategy, the intention of the North is to break the situation through the back door, that is, revise customs regulations with expansion of the authorities of customs administrations, and re-delineate the boundary of customs and other stakeholders. If the Provisional Standards Employed by Customs for Uniform Rights Enforcement (SECURE) is allowed to be adopted in its current form, these new border measures will 62 WCO SECURE 63 inevitably be incorporated in the free trade agreements (FTAs) and...
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