Global Governance: Hegemonic Trips, Biotech and the WTO
Global governance includes a growing web of international regimes. The governance of seeds and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) is more complex as a series of overlapping regimes have appeared. It is not immediately obvious why an organization concerned with the regulation of world trade, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and its predecessor GATT, should have become the vehicle for a global regime in IPRs. Economic non-discrimination is the central principle of liberal free trade embodied in the GATT rules. The key text in global patent regimes is the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IPRs or Trade Related Intellectual Property (TRIPs) as it is commonly known, which was negotiated within the Uruguay Round, placing patents in the hands of the WTO. The GATT and WTO provided a suitable setting for this hegemonic ambition. The liberal free trade regime of the GATT embodied concentrated economic power within a universalising discourse on trade.