TRIPS-Plus policies and the pharmaceutical industry in Thailand
Bilateral trade and investment agreements are increasingly used strategically by powerful countries to incorporate 'TRIPS-Plus' commitments that have been difficult to achieve in multilateral settings (notably at the World Trade Organization (WTO)). The developed countries, which have been dissatisfied with the multilateral forum, have resorted to bilateral agreements as a way of forum shopping to better achieve their own interests in disregard of a more balanced approach to intellectual property right (lPR) protection. The issue at stake for developing countries is the loss of key 'policy space' in strategic areas such as health, agriculture and the digital environment. The TRIPS-Plus obligations may also deny developing countries benefits and flexibilities within trade agreements aimed at enhancing pro-innovation activities and technology transfer.