22 September 2011
Dr Rafael Leal-Arcas has been invited to speak at an international conference on trade, science, technology, and justice. The title of his presentation is "Climate-based RTAs and the Building Blocks Approach,” to be held at the National Chiao Tung University, Hsin Chu, Taiwan, 1-2 November 2011.
It seems that trade and science are in a cozy and mutual supportive relation in terms of functioning international trade regimes. The trade rules of goods, like SPS, TBT, tend to rely on science principles to judge disputes relating to health or environmental risks. The GATS facilitates technology-related services. Obviously, TRIPS is mainly created to reward and protect technology inventors. The popular TRIPS plus arrangements of growing FTA provide further protection to IPRs owners.
But, science and technology would not be accessible by the general public. They are mainly dominated by multinational companies or private sectors, especially for the purpose of commercialisation. Relevant private sectors have more resources to influence the creation of science evidences and who speaks for the public interest or countries with lower level of technology in such context? Whether the current trade negotiations (multilateral, regional or bilateral basis) place science, technology or related industries in a justified position? Have trade dispute settlement activities reached a proper interpretation on science or technology related agreements so as not to negate public interest and concern. The designated conference is organized to explore the status and interaction of science, technology in and with trade regimes, WTO, FTA, investment treaties etc., with a view to searching a proper balance between promoting trade liberalization and ensuring social justice.