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Governing Knowledge: Discourses and Tactics of the European Union in Trade‐Related Intellectual Property Negotiations

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Abstract:  With global shifts in the format of international trade negotiations—from multilateral to bilateral and regional fora—possibilities for the unequal exercise of power have amplified. At risk are the trade‐related interests of “developing” economies, as well as public policy issues like access to medicines. In response we analyse some of the emerging governmental approaches currently being employed for trade‐related intellectual property (IP) rules. Our concern is to provide a deeper understanding of the ways power is exercised internationally. Here, we explore the European Union (EU) approaches towards trade negotiations. Examining the role of the EU in IP‐related trade negotiations, recent actions towards “economic partnership agreements” with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are discussed. Rather than exercise a singular approach, the EU has pursued a range of tactics, including educational and incentive‐based measures, but also surveillance of foreign country IP protection, and increasingly overt disciplinary tactics in their negotiations. A veneer of inclusiveness masks a more sophisticated, diversified governing strategy still ultimately concerned with the sovereign or judicial enrolment and compliance of economically/technologically poorer nations to a regulatory apparatus of security that favours European IP interests.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Environmental Studies, UNSW Sydney, Australia; 2: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia;

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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