A (Happy) Ending for the 20-year old EU-Mercosur Seesaw

June 28, Brussels/Osaka – first rounds of negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and the Mercosur started back in the 1990s. Since then, many transformations have occurred in the South American region: governments have changed, economic crises were repeatedly superseded by economic boom and vice versa.; yet one aspect remained the same: the PBR protection systems in the region.  Now, with a freshly signed trade agreement, we can expect changes.

 

 Picture: Ferran Feixas, Unsplash.com

 

After a long process of taking and giving, the EU and the Mercosur, the economic block formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, have finally reached a historic “agreement in principle” on the fringes of the G20 Summit held in Osaka, Japan. The EU-Mercosur agreement seeks to remove most tariffs on the EU exports to the Southern Cone region, making EU companies more competitive and boosting new business opportunities.

 

In respect of IPR, while the final text of the agreement has not been released yet, in a joint MEMO both regions recognized that “protecting Intellectual Property Rights and trade secrets is important for fostering innovation and creativity and for ensuring that their respective industries stay competitive.”

Nonetheless, we can expect that the new agreement provides for the obligation of the parties to accede the Act 1991 of UPOV. The preliminary draft of the Agreement’ Chapter on IP, put forward by the EU, included this provision. Article 9, reads “[t]he parties shall protect plant varieties rights, in accordance with the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) as lastly revised in Geneva on March 19, 1991, (the so-called “1991 UPOV ACT”) including the exceptions to the breeders’ rights as referred to in Article 15 of the said Convention, and co-operate to promote and enforce these rights”.

 

Now, the parties shall perform a legal revision of the agreed text and compile a final version of the agreement. The EU Commission shall further submit the agreement for approval by the Council and the European Parliament.

 

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