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Developing States-World Trade Organization Conflict

Description of the conflict

The latest conflict between developing countries and World Trade Organization (WTO) is concerns international patent laws. This conflict has come up due to the establishment of an agreement with respect to Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). Under this agreement, all member countries agreed to adopt the worldwide minimum standards for Intellectual property (IP) laws. Developing countries have the perception that this undertaking protects them from having access to skills and vital medicines that are crucial for their growth and well-being. On the other hand, developed countries feel that the set standards in the agreement still need to be added. They require the developing countries to adapt standards that are more demanding than those of WTO claiming that the WTO standards are out dated. The issues raised by developing countries appear to be more reasonable. As developing countries have no capacity of developing their own technology, they depend on importing it from developed countries. As a result, they fear that developed countries may come up with intellectual property that is of low benefit to them. They may also not be able to com up with mechanisms that help in reducing developing countries’ access, at healthy terms to vital technology and drugs (Cassidy, 2010, para. 1).

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Analysis of how TRIPS came into being

TRIPS was adapted by WTO member countries after they failed to come up with a democratic process. During this event, a minor group of those who controlled IP industry managed to convince some of the developed countries to go by stronger IP rights as their main focus in their trade issues. On the other hand, developing countries had no expertise to do with IP trade negotiations. Most of them were not present in the IP negotiations. This made them have no bargaining power over the developed countries. To make the matters worse member states had not established a body to protect intellectual commons. The current conflict dates back from establishment of patent systems. While these systems were established with an aim of benefiting those who came up with new innovations, multinational corporations have taken this opportunity to benefit themselves (Beer, 2009, pp. 24-36). IP rights have led to these corporations enjoying the monopoly. In the case of knowledge based corporations, they have started coming up with cartels that control the use of their patented knowledge. This has made it hard for developing countries to have access to this knowledge. They also offer their products at a high price that most of the developing countries can not afford.

Most of the patented products including drugs are supplied at a high price. To justify their actions, developed countries have claimed that they incur a lot of cost in producing these products. As the patent rights expire, industries from the developed countries continue extending to developing countries. This is due to these countries not having the knowledge to reproduce their products. However, with time some of the developing countries have stated gaining the expertise and producing similar products. This has made the developed countries to see as if their expertise is being stolen by developing countries. To end this, they have embarked on imposing their IP agendas on developing countries. To ensure that developing countries hinder to their decree, they threaten them with sanctions and WTO. With developing countries not being able to withstand the pressure, they have found themselves obeying all IP rights imposed on them by developed countries (Calvert & Calvert, 2007, pp. 126-132). Developing countries claim that the established TRIPS still do not safeguard their interests. Developed countries have continued exploiting them.

Comment about the source

The source from where this information has been obtained from is more reliable. This is because the author of the source compiled the information by consulting numerous reports and writings documented about WTO and its businesses. However, the information is found to mostly try to look at the adverse effects of IP systems on developing countries without considering how developed countries would be affected if there was no such right.


Development refers to the act of advancing or improving the state of something or condition through various stages. Developmentalism approach is the act of addressing an issue based on how forces acting on it has hampered or helped in its advancement. Modernization on the other hand comes from social science and refers to process in which a community is transformed from one that has poor living conditions to one with improved lives through industrialization and urbanization. Dependency refers to the state of being controlled by something or relying on someone. The write of this article has compiled it using a developmentalism approach. In it he has tried to base his argument on the how lack of development in developing countries has led to them being exploited by developed countries.


Beer, J. (2009). Implementing the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Development Agenda. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Calvert, P., & Calvert, S. (2007). Politics and Society in the Third World (3rd Ed.). Essex, England: Pearson’s Education Limited.

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Cassidy, E. P. (2010). Power, Politics, and the Adoption of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 7). Developing States-World Trade Organization Conflict.

Work Cited

"Developing States-World Trade Organization Conflict." StudyCorgi, 7 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Developing States-World Trade Organization Conflict." December 7, 2021.


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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Developing States-World Trade Organization Conflict." December 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Developing States-World Trade Organization Conflict'. 7 December.

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