The impact of international global governance and regulatory frameworks in trade
Hegde, Venkatachala G.
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This report forms part of the FRAME’s project stream of research which analyses how human rights are integrated into EU policies on trade and development, and to what extent this is consistently and coherently translated into the EU’s policy framework and implementing structures. Among other objectives, this stream of research aims to assess the extent to which the EU, through its trade and development cooperation policies, can contribute to human rights protection and promotion abroad. Previous deliverables under this work package have mapped out the EU’s policy toolbox for human rights promotion in trade and development (D 9.1) and have assessed whether the EU system of ex-ante and ex-post impact assessments takes into account human rights concerns in trade and development policies, and what these impacts are (D9.2). The present report seeks to look at the potential of EU trade policies, which are explicitly designed to leverage human rights as per the EU’s general commitment to promote human rights in all its policies, to actually act as a force for ‘good global governance’ and help protect third countries against an erosion of basic rights, such as access to food, to health, or to housing. The EU trade policies’ contribution to good global governance for human rights is analyzed through two extensive case-studies located in different fields. First, the report addresses the issue of forestry management and the human rights issues associated with illegal logging, against which the EU has been trying to act for more than a decade. In this context, this report analyses the implementation of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme in Ghana in order to assess the extent to which the EU is able to promote instruments of good forestry governance through innovative bilateral instruments such as Voluntary Partnership Agreements and various systems of legality verification. […] Second, this report seeks to uncover the role of the EU in soothing the tensions which may exist between intellectual protection of pharmaceutical products, which grant marketing exclusivity to their manufacturers, and the human right to health which commands affordable access to medicines. This report addresses this question by looking at intellectual property chapters included in free trade agreements negotiated by the EU. In particular, this second case-study assesses the extent to which these treaty provisions achieve the correct balance between intellectual property rights and the human right to health, or whether it favours one or the other interest. This chapter is illustrated with an extensive case-study of the place of intellectual property issues in the negotiations between the EU and India, which have widely diverging views on these questions. […] The conclusion which this report suggests in this regard is that the EU may at times risk undermining human rights protection when it pursues its trade policies with too little regard for the balance which must be achieved between its direct interests and the protection of human rights. In the case of access to medicines which we have presented, this lack of balance is only countervailed by the fierce resistance of partner countries such as India, and to other activities which the EU is conducting in non-trade areas to the effect of ensuring protection of the right to health despite the undermining effects of IPR.