TPP, RCEP and the Crossvergence of Asian Intellectual Property Standards
GOVERNING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE MEGA-REGIONALS: REGULATORY DIVERGENCE AND CONVERGENCE, Peng Shin-yi, Liu Han-wei and Li Ching-fu, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018, Forthcoming
16 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2017 Last revised: 14 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 6, 2017
The debate on convergence and divergence has garnered considerable attention from policymakers and commentators involved in regulatory developments in Asia. The recent completion of the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the still ongoing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have added fuel to this debate. Given the different leadership in these two mega-regional agreements and the exclusion of many RCEP parties from the TPP negotiations, it will be interesting to see how the agreements will affect the future efforts to set regional intellectual property standards. It will also be curious to see whether the draft and finalized standards could reveal policy preferences of the participating countries.
This chapter begins by examining the regulatory convergence narrative, focusing on efforts to harmonize Asian intellectual property standards through the WTO TRIPS Agreement and TRIPS-plus bilateral, regional and plurilateral agreements. The chapter then turns to the regulatory divergence narrative, discussing the region's inherent nation-based differences, the development considerations involved in developing Asian intellectual property laws and policies, and the growing rivalry between the TPP and the RCEP. This chapter concludes by suggesting that neither the convergence narrative nor the divergence narrative presents a complete and satisfactory story for a region as large, complex and diverse as Asia. Instead, the chapter contends that the region is likely to see "regulatory crossvergence," which features a simultaneous convergence and divergence of regulatory standards. Such crossvergence not only has resulted in the region's development of compromising standards but has also been highly indicative of the ongoing and future standard-setting efforts in Asia.
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