Inclusion in bilateral or regional trade agreements is an important weapons tactic used by industrialized countries to push for seed privatization around the world. One might wonder what relationship between the right of small farmers to save seeds and free trade, but for trade negotiators, this link is very clear: farmers who save and trade seeds compete with the world seed trade. The goal is to ensure that companies like Monsanto or Syngenta can control the seed trade in general and maximize the profits from their seed business by preventing farmers from multiplying and saving – much like Hollywood or Microsoft, trying to prevent people from copying and sharing movies or software. In all trade agreements signed by the United States, it has therefore added a paragraph that obliges the other country to adhere – at least – to the 1991 version of the UPOV Convention, which grants plant breeders intellectual property rights over plant varieties. Under the 1991 UPOV Agreement, the last agreement, the exclusive rights granted to the breeder (commonly referred to as “breeder rights”) require another party to obtain the breeder`s permission before proceeding with the following acts with respect to multiplication materials: 16 www.upov.org/export/sites/upov/en/publications/npvlaws/estonia/Law1998.pdf Article 15.2. Each contracting party ratifies or adheres to the following agreements: 11 www.upov.org/upovlex/en/details.jsp?id=5303 Since the WTO establishes trade policy rules and intellectual property rights in trade agreements quickly become a guiding principle, institutions such as WIPO and UPOV can easily become WTO champions. Their role in the world is increasingly shifting from policy-making to ensuring the implementation of WTO policy by its members. This scenario may apply particularly when countries interpret the TRIPS clause on sui generis rights in such a way that it requires rights similar to UPOV. This is probably what UPOV wants in order for the Union to expand its membership.
This implies that the UPOV system could be increasingly controlled by the WTO and not by its membership and could in turn be used to control developing countries. The South is much better off from this spiral towards stronger rights for northern farmers (mainly NTCs) and the submission of the WTO agenda. How TRIPS can be implemented is made even more difficult by the fact that, in 1999, Article 27.3 (b), which seeks patents or sui generis rights for plant varieties, will be examined by WTO Member States. This could range from a polite intergovernmental discussion to a fundamental challenge to the WTO`s newly acquired authority on biological resources, unlike other agreements on agriculture, the environment or even human rights. In-depth interviews are clearly needed, as shown by numerous press reports by people protesting against companies in the North that claim ownership of the biodiversity of the South. This is the future that the ADPS promises and what UPOV allows. The pressure to extend intellectual property rights (IPR) legislation to biodiversity in developing countries has been growing every day. In some countries, this means being put on the U.S. super-301 “Watch List” by free trade criminals.
In other countries, the heat comes from the trade ministries responsible for implementing the agreements signed at the end of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Developing countries are being told that patents and other forms of intellectual property are the key to attracting investment in biotechnology, which will stimulate their economies and improve food security. These claims are totally false. The only motivation behind the global IPR campaign is to increase profits for transnational companies housed in the North. In addition to seed privatization, UPOV 91 and trade agreements require countries to “provide appropriate remedies to effectively enforce dro