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The struggle for affordable medicines

By Chan Park 

India, which amended its patent laws for TRIPS-compliance in 2005, introduced a clause to ensure that pharmaceuticals did not block the entry of low-cost generic drugs. A year ago this clause blocked Novartis' patent application for its anti-cancer drug Gleevec. Now, in a major case that will have a profound effect on the affordability of essential medicines in India, Novartis is challenging this unique Indian provision

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A brief history of the WTO

By Prabhash Ranjan

The principle of non-discrimination was meant to be the cornerstone of the World Trade Organisation and the multilateral trading regime. But ten years down the line, it is clear that the trade rules favour developed countries, and the promise of greater market access for developing countries has not been sufficiently realised

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Can multilateral trade work for the poor?

By Robin Koshy

Protectionism, self-reliance and village republics are not enough to lift 1.3 billion of the world’s poor out of absolute poverty. There is sufficient empirical evidence to demonstrate that trade can be a powerful catalyst for poverty reduction, that free trade with fairer policies will benefit the world's poor more than aid or charity. The problem is that World Trade Organisation negotiations and global trade are far from free and fair, with the balance skewed in favour of powerful trading blocs like the US and EU and against poorer nations

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WTO negotiations and India's stand: Agriculture, NAMA and services

By Abhijit Das 

From India's perspective it would be most crucial during the Doha negotiations to protect the interests of its farmers, even at the cost of foregoing benefits that might have otherwise been made in services and NAMA negotiations

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Trade on human terms

By Sherna Gandhy

The first Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2006 is a timely reminder that the hosannas to globalisation may be slightly out of tune: economic growth is not a magic mantra for development and poverty reduction

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The MDGs and the free trade mantra

By Rahul Goswami 

The Millennium Development Goals address targets and percentages without relating these to the effect of structural inequalities, denial of social justice, economic inequities and the imposition of adverse policies. How then can the MDGs usher in a just new world order?

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Building a global partnership for development

By Martin Khor

Goal 8 of the MDGs is about building a global partnership for development, an external economic environment that is favourable for development. From this perspective, the prevention of development-distorting rules, measures, policies and approaches should be the overriding concern of the WTO

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Protection for the rich; free play of market forces for the poor

By Parshuram Ray 

The most striking aspect of the farming crisis in India is that its severity is directly proportionate to the degree of integration with international trade and global markets

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Subsidising suicides

By Jaideep Hardikar 

Cotton has become a symbol of the inequities and distortions of global trade, demonstrating how agricultural subsidies in developed countries devastate farmers in developing countries

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Marginalising the marginalised

By Asha Bee Abraham 

The WTO erodes women's right not only to the security of a regular meal, but also involvement in decision-making around food production and agricultural development

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Huligamma and Big Mac

By Nandana Reddy

Does trade liberalisation affect investments in children's health and education? There is growing evidence that children from families denied livelihood security, and deprived of the most basic social benefits, are forced into child labour and a precarious existence in urban centres

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More media, less democracy

By Manfred Kops

This article explores the implications of attempts by the World Trade Organisation to include audiovisual media, especially broadcast programmes, into the General Agreement in Trade and Services (GATS) and thereby promote international free trade in audiovisual services

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What do women stand to gain from trade?

By Salma Maoulidi

Trade, trade and more trade. That seems to be the winning formula for economic success. But what does it mean for women in the East African region? How are their interests reflected in trading activities?

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Action plan to ease disease burden of developing world

By Arti Malik

Despite the staggeringly disproportionate impact of disease on the developing world, pharmaceuticals develop drugs that have a potentially profitable market rather than drugs that are urgently required in poorer countries. Will this change with the World Health Assembly’s recent adoption of a global strategy to fill gaps in existing R&D and work towards drugs needed for diseases that affect developing countries?

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Intellectual Property Rights are a privilege, not a human right

By Dr B Ekbal

Intellectual Property Rights should be subsumed to human rights, national interests and the preservation of genetic resources

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Are intellectual property rights fundamental human rights?

By Prabhash Ranjan

What are the implications of construing IPR as fundamental human rights?

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'Anything that is worth copying is worth sharing': Prof Eben Moglen

By V Sasi Kumar

Eben Moglen, principal proponent of the free software movement, believes that there is an inherent relationship between free software and free culture. Each is interdependent and enables the other

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Copyright: Keeping a balance between public and private interest

By Achal Prabhala

The copyright system is meant to promote access to knowledge in the public domain, not to restrict it. The proposed amendments to the Indian Copyright Act 1957, however, may land us with an ever-growing list of restrictions

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Reconsidering the pirate nation: Notes from South Africa and India

By Lawrence Liang and Achal Prabhala

Trade losses to software manufacturers due to piracy are as high as $125 billion. We need to interrogate why piracy of software, books, music etc exists as a market phenomenon. Could it be an organic market reaction to the exclusion of consumers by copyright industries?

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Property and rights: Owning ideas, fish and forests

By Manoj Nadkarni

All debates about property - whether it's water, medicines or a piece of music - revolve around two fundamental questions: who should have the rights to own and benefit from the property; and what should those rights consist of?

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