Trade Agreements

Trade agreement negotiations put pressure on developing countries to access UPOV 91

These agreements can take a number of forms:

  • Free trade agreements (FTAs), sometimes called Economic Partnership Agreements or Association Agreements
  • Bilateral investment treaties (BITs), sometimes called Investment Protection and Promotion

A Human Rights Impact Assessment should be carried out at the beginning of any negotiation which includes the demand to change the national PVP legislation. Only if the Human Rights Impact Assessment shows  no potentially negative impacts, the negotiations should be continued.

In addition, if UPOV membership is envisaged as part of the price to be paid for enhanced access to developed world markets, the value of these policy trade-offs should be made explicit.

  • The more countries enter free trade agreements, the added value of facilitated market access is reduced.
  • If the price to be paid for the transfer of valuable improved genetic material and associated technology to the developing world is protecting IPRs of industrialised countries, this price needs to be made more explicit.
  • whilst a well-defined PVP system can promote improved seeds and better agricultural yields, an inappropriately designed one has the potential to undermine other public interest objectives, such as by limiting countries’ policy space to protect the interest of small-scale farmers or not recognizing the contribution and importance of traditional knowledge or of participatory plant breeding.

Country-level information on concluded trade agreements or those under negotiation is available from This is a collective effort to share information and stimulate cooperation against bilateral trade and investment agreements that are opening countries to the deepest forms of penetration by transnational corporations. One section contains news and analysis about bilateral and regional free trade and investment agreements under negotiation.

Further Reading: