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Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international
agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that sets down
minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation as
applied to nationals of other WTO Members. The TRIPS agreement which came into
effect on 1 January 1995 is claimed to be the most comprehensive multilateral
agreement on intellectual property.
The TRIPS agreement introduced intellectual property law into the international
trading system for the first time and remains the most comprehensive international
agreement on intellectual property to date. In 2001, developing countries, concerned
that developed countries were insisting on an overly narrow reading of TRIPS,
initiated a round of talks that resulted in the Doha Declaration. The Doha declaration
is a WTO statement that clarifies the scope of TRIPS, stating for example that TRIPS
can and should be interpreted in light of the goal "to promote access to medicines for
Specifically, TRIPS contains requirements that nations' laws must meet for copyright
rights, including the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and
broadcasting organizations; geographical indications, including appellations of
origin; industrial designs; integrated circuit layout-designs; patents; monopolies for
the developers of new plant varieties; trademarks; trade dress; and undisclosed or
confidential information. TRIPS also specify enforcement procedures, remedies, and
dispute resolution procedures.
Background and history
TRIPS was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement
on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. Its inclusion was the culmination of a program
of intense lobbying by the United States, supported by the European Union, Japan
and other developed nations. Campaigns of unilateral economic encouragement
under the Generalized System of Preferences and coercion under Section 301 of the
Trade Act played an important role in defeating competing policy positions that
were favored by developing countries, most notably Korea and Brazil, but also
including Thailand, India and Caribbean Basin states. In turn, the United States
strategy of linking trade policy to intellectual property standards can be traced back
to the entrepreneurship of senior management at Pfizer in the early 1980s, who

mobilized corporations in the United States and made maximizing intellectual
property privileges the number one priority of trade policy in the United States.
The requirements of TRIPS
TRIPS requires member states to provide strong protection for intellectual property
rights. For example, under TRIPS:
Copyright terms must extend to 50 years after the death of the author.
Copyright must be granted automatically, and not based upon any
"formality," such as registrations or systems of renewal.
Computer programs must be regarded as "literary works" under copyright
law and receive the same terms of protection.
National exceptions to copyright (such as "fair use" in the United States) are
constrained by the Berne three-step test.
Patents must be granted in all "fields of technology," although exceptions for
certain public interests are allowed and must be enforceable for at least 20
Exceptions to exclusive rights must be limited, provided that a normal
exploitation of the work and normal exploitation of the patent is not in
No unreasonable prejudice to the legitimate interests of the right holders of
computer programs and patents is allowed.
Legitimate interests of third parties have to be taken into account by patent
In each state, intellectual property laws may not offer any benefits to local
citizens which are not available to citizens of other TRIPS signatories under
the principle of national treatment (with certain limited exceptions). TRIPS
also has a most favored nation clause


Trade Related Investment Measures
The Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) are rules that apply to the
domestic regulations a country applies to foreign investors, often as part of an
industrial policy.
The agreement was agreed upon by all members of the World Trade Organization.
(The WTO wasn't established at that time, it was his predecessor, the GATT (General
Agreement on Trade and Tariffs). The WTO came about in 1994-1995.
Trade Related Investment Measures is the name of one of the four principal legal
agreements of the WTO trade treaty. TRIMS are rules that restrict preference of
domestic firms and thereby enable international firms to operate more easily within
foreign markets.
The TRIMS Agreement prohibits member countries from adopting investment
measures such as local content, foreign exchange and trade balancing as a policy to
encourage local Producers to utilize domestically produced goods. Such measures
have been used by both Developing and developed countries to promote import
substitution industrialization Strategy.
Dunkley categorized TRIMs into two types:
positive (e.g. tax Concessions to attract FDI) and
Negative (various requirements imposed on foreign Investors).
The latter include the requirement that foreign investors to use a certain amount of
local inputs in production, limit the use of imported components, tying foreign
exchange usage to the volume of exports, adopt local labour hiring targets, imposing
requirement to conduct research and development locally and so on.
The TRIMs Agreement basically does three things (Greenfield 2001):
1. Illustrates provisions under the GATT Articles III (National Treatment) and
Article 4 (elimination of quantitative restrictions on imports).
2. Lists the time limit for removing trade-related investment measures.
3. Provides avenue for members to bring their complaints to the dispute settlement


Overview of Rules
Trade-Related Investment Measures
In the late 1980s, there was a significant increase in foreign direct investment
throughout the world. However, some of the countries receiving foreign investment
imposed numerous restrictions on that investment designed to protect and foster
domestic industries, and to prevent the outflow of foreign exchange reserves.
Examples of these restrictions include local content requirements (which require that
locally-produced goods be purchased or used), manufacturing requirements (which
require the domestic manufacturing of certain components), trade balancing
requirements, domestic sales requirements, technology transfer requirements, export
performance requirements (which require the export of a specified percentage of
production volume), local equity restrictions, foreign exchange restrictions,
remittance restrictions, licensing requirements, and employment restrictions.
These measures can also be used in connection with fiscal incentives as opposed to
requirement. Some of these investment measures distort trade in violation of GATT
Article III and XI, and are therefore prohibited. Until the completion of the Uruguay
Round negotiations, which produced a well-rounded Agreement on Trade-Related
Investment Measures (hereinafter the "TRIMs Agreement"), the few international
agreements providing disciplines for measures restricting foreign investment
provided only limited guidance in terms of content and country coverage.
The OECD Code on Liberalization of Capital Movements, for example, requires
members to liberalize restrictions on direct investment in a broad range of areas. The
OECD Code's efficacy, however, is limited by the numerous reservations made by
each of the members. In addition, there are other international treaties, bilateral and
multilateral, under which signatories extend most-favored-nation treatment to direct
investment. Only a few such treaties, however, provide national treatment for direct
investment. Moreover, although the APEC Investment Principles adopted in
November 1994 provide rules for investment as a whole, including non-
discrimination and national treatment, they have no binding force.