The EU is considered to be one of the main proponents of what has been called the deep trade agenda—that is, the push for further trade liberalization with an emphasis on the removal of domestic non-tariff regulatory measures affecting trade, as opposed to the traditional focus on the removal of trade barriers at borders. As negotiations on the Doha Development Round have stalled, the EU has attempted to achieve these aims by entering into comprehensive free trade agreements (FTAs) that are not only limited exclusively to tariffs but also extend to non-tariff barriers, including services, intellectual property rights (IPRs), competition, and investment. These FTAs place great emphasis on regulatory convergence as a means to secure greater market openings. The paper examines the EU's current external trade policy in the area of IP, particularly its attempts to promote its own regulatory model for the protection of IP rights through trade agreements. By looking at the IP enforcement provisions of such agreements, the article also examines how the divisive issues that are currently hindering the progress of negotiations at WTO level, including the demands from developing countries to maintain a degree of autonomy in the area of IP regulation as well as the need to balance IP protection with human rights protection, are being dealt with in recent EU FTAs.
- EU law
- WTO Law