TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar10/11)
20 March 2010
Third World Network

Brazil begins process to retaliate on US non-compliance
Published in SUNS #6885 dated 17 March 2010 

Geneva, 16 Mar (Kanaga Raja) -- The government of Brazil on Monday launched a process of public consultations on measures for the suspension of concessions or obligations in the area of intellectual property rights (IPRs) that may be applied against the United States in retaliation for its non-compliance with the rulings of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in the upland cotton dispute.

According to a press release by the Brazilian government, these measures are based on Provisional Measure No. 482 of 10 February 2010.

This is the second time that Brazil is announcing a set of retaliatory measures over the cotton dispute. Last week, the Brazilian government announced a final list of goods coming from the US that would be subject to increased import duties.

Brazil published on Monday a resolution of the Chamber of External Trade (CAMEX) that launched the process of public consultations.

The resolution also contained a provisional list of products over which patents, copyrights and royalties can be suspended.

These include suspension for a limited time, patents on products or processes in relation to medicaments including for veterinary use, on agro-chemical products, agricultural biotechnology products, and music. They also include compulsory licensing on patents on products or processes in relation to drugs, agro-chemicals, and agro-biotech products.

Also included are measures relating to compulsory licensing on copyrights over literary works and audiovisual products.

The measures also relate to the application of rights over royalties generated by patents, and copyrights over computer software, as well as increased costs on registering patents.

Interested parties have 20 days to submit comments on the proposed measures, said Brazil.

According to the Brazilian press release, the application of countermeasures in the area of intellectual property was authorized by the WTO and may reach a level of as much as $238 million in the course of one year.

Authorized countermeasures may remain in force as long as the United States persists in the current situation of non-compliance with the WTO rulings.

After analysis of the comments received from interested parties, the Brazilian Government will select a set of measures from among those that are being subject to public consultations.

According to the press release, the selected measures will complement the countermeasures in the area of goods which were made public on 8 March 2010.

(On 8 March, the Brazilian government published its final list of goods originating from the US that will be subject to increased import duties. The list of goods, which was also notified to the WTO on the same day and corresponds to an amount of retaliation of $591 million, included amongst others food products, medicaments, beauty products, and household electric and electronic items.

(All of the products in the list will see increased import duties from the current applied levels, with the steepest increase reserved for cotton and woven fabrics of cotton, from the current 6-26% to 100%. See SUNS #6880 dated 10 March 2010.)

In its press release of 15 March, Brazil said that in taking these steps, it seeks to enforce the international trade rules, which have been agreed by all WTO Members, and also to safeguard the credibility and the legitimacy of the multilateral dispute settlement system.

Brazil said that it remains open to a dialogue with the United States that may facilitate the achievement of a mutually satisfactory solution to this dispute.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who was in Brasilia last week, said following his meeting with senior Brazilian officials that the US was soon going to commence negotiations with Brazil.

The reports also cited Brazil's Development and Trade Minister Miguel Jorge, who met with Locke, as indicating to journalists that while Brazil was ready to negotiate, the first move would have to come from the US. +