KEI/IQsensato panel at WTO Public Forum: Proposal for a WTO Agreement on the Supply of Knowledge as a Public Good (21 Sept 2011)


TITLE: Proposal for a WTO Agreement on the Supply of Knowledge as a Public Good

DATE: Wednesday, 21 September 2011

TIME: 16:15-18:15

VENUE: Room E (located on 3rd floor), World Trade Organization

REGISTRATION: Mandatory, please complete the registration form by 14 September 2011.


Sisule Musungu, IQsensato


José Estanislau do Amaral, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the Word Trade Organization and other economic organizations in Geneva

Shandana Gulzar Khan, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the World Trade Organization

James Love, Knowledge Ecology International

Antony Taubman, World Trade Organization


The global community is confronted with an undersupply of global public goods, including but not limited those involving knowledge goods. The current international trade architecture lacks the capacity to address free riding or the general undersupply of global public goods. The proposal for a WTO Agreement on the Supply of Knowledge as a Public Good frames the WTO as the institution to host an international instrument to address the chronic undersupply of global public goods thus providing a timely solution to a pressing global challenge.

There are increasing calls for a larger supply of public goods and a variety of proposals that involve government commitments to increase the supply of global public goods in specific areas, including but not limited to major projects such as the Kyoto Protocol to the International Framework Convention on Climate Change, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources and the proposed WHO Biomedical R&D Treaty. The aforementioned agreements, in addition to other and existing and proposed agreements are important, but are not a sufficient response to the under-supply of global public goods.

This session will evaluate a proposal for a trade framework and a multilateral agreement that would involve negotiations and binding commitments to support the creation of and access to certain public goods. In particular, the provision of global public goods involving knowledge would be enhanced by the creation of an agreement within the WTO that would feature binding commitments by governments to undertake actions to increase the supply of a heterogeneous class of public goods, operating in a fashion analogous to binding commitments to reduce tariffs and subsidies or to liberalize trade in services.

Further reading

7 December 2009, A proposal for a WTO Agreement on the Supply of Global Public Goods, Presentation made by James Love, 7th WTO Ministerial, Geneva

26 January 2009, Knowledge as a Public Good: remarks at the World Forum on Science and Democracy, Belém, Brasil, James Love

June 2008, Proposal for a WTO Agreement on the Supply of Public goods, Knowledge Ecology International

thiru's Blogs Add new comment Printer-friendly version Send by email Send by email