Implementation of the Trips Agreement and Prospects for its Further Development
Posted: 17 Apr 1999
WTO Members can look back on the first three and a half years of the TRIPS Agreement with some satisfaction. Implementation by developed countries has been broadly satisfactory, although not without its gaps and delays. The TRIPS Council has developed and run-in important mechanisms for monitoring compliance. The dispute settlement mechanism has, in general, worked well and has already yielded positive results in the TRIPS area. A huge amount has been done by developing countries in anticipation of the end of their transition periods. Cooperation with WIPO has been established and is going well. Some useful work has been done on the built-in agenda.
However, the principal challenges probably remain for the future. Much still has to be done by developing countries to bring themselves into compliance. The mechanisms of the WTO, in particular the TRIPS Council and the dispute settlement system, have to show that they have the capacity to deal with compliance issues arising from implementation by more than 130 Members as opposed to the 30 plus countries so far. As for the further development of the Agreement, the coming period leading to the possible launching of broad-based negotiations, in the WTO at the end of 1999 will be a critical period for reflection and consensus-building on the way in which the TRIPS Agreement should evolve in the future.
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