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28 Jun 2020    Working Papers
Van den Bossche, Peter


The TRIPS Agreement and WTO Dispute Settlement: Past, Present and Future

WTI Working Paper No. 02/2020 by Peter Van den Bossche

In 2020, the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (‘TRIPS Agreement’) marked its 25th anniversary. There was, however, little reason for celebration. The COVID-19 pandemic had plunged the world economy in an unprecedented crisis. In April 2020, the IMF predicted that global GDP would contract by as much as 3 per cent in 2020, and the WTO forecasted that the volume of world trade would decline in 2020 between 13 and 32 per cent depending on the how long the health crisis would last and how governments would respond to the economic impact of the crisis. Even the decline under the best-case ‘13 per cent’ scenario would still be the steepest decline on record. However, global trade and the multilateral trading system, of which the TRIPS Agreement is one of the pillars, was in crisis already before any of us had heard of the new corona virus or considered ‘social distancing’ a civil duty (rather than deviant behavior). Global trade in goods declined in 2019 by 3 per cent in value terms and global trade in commercial services grew by a paltry 2 per cent only.

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The TRIPS Agreement and WTO Dispute Settlement: Past, Present and Future