Will the TRIPS Agreement Foster Appropriate Biotechnologies for Developing Countries?

Journal of Agricultural Economics 02/2007; 58(2):199-217. DOI:10.1111/j.1477-9552.2007.00110.x
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT While almost all of the investment in agricultural biotechnology to date has been in temperate crops suitable for developed countries, developing countries are the greatest potential beneficiaries of this major technological advance. To realise this potential requires investment in crops appropriate to climatic and agronomic conditions in developing countries. Protection of intellectual property rights is a necessary condition for the private sector to invest in appropriate biotechnologies. This paper develops a game theoretic model of a bioscience firm that adapts a new technology to a range of agronomic conditions in response to the enforcement of intellectual property rights in a developed and a developing country. Over a range of potential penalties, low levels of enforcement by the developing country remain endemic despite the desire to have the bioscience firm adapt the biotechnology to its local conditions. In particular, the trade penalties contained in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights are likely to be ineffective. The developing country might increase enforcement if the developed country was more aggressive in liberalising agriculture trade because there would be greater symmetry in the benefits of the technology. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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