From Progressive Liberalization to Progressive Regulation in WTO Law
Posted: 17 Jul 2008
Date Written: December 2006
This paper addresses conceptual problems of special and differential (S&D) treatment of developing countries (DCs). Observing that past and present avenues have largely failed, it suggests the concept of progressive regulation in the field of prescriptive rules. Based on the idea of progressive liberalization, it develops a new concept of graduation inherent to substantive rules and suggests taking recourse to individual scheduling of commitments. Learning from the idea of progressive liberalization, commensurate to diverging levels of development, it is submitted that graduation, based on recourse to economic factors within substantive rules, and scheduling of additional commitments could replace traditional perceptions of S&D treatment and render World Trade Organization (WTO) more responsive to the needs of developing Member States of the WTO. As an example, this paper applies these concepts to the problem of patenting pharmaceutical products.
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