China’s Position as Champion of Traditional Knowledge in International Law Fora

Traditional Knowledge (TK), Genetical Resources (GR), Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCE), are sometimes seen as spare change between the countries with a high and those of a low GDP per capita (the terminology of developed and developing countries is flawed as Professor Neuwirth of the University of Macau convincingly argues in Global Governance and the Creative Economy: The Developing versus Developed Country Dichotomy Revisited.) Simply put, the rich countries demand high IP standards from the poor countries and the poor countries get compensations for TK, GR and TCE back from the rich countries.

Traditional Knowledge is often used as the overarching term, which includes GR and TCE. Despite countless discussions at the TRIPS Council (WTO) and WIPO fora, no concrete results have been achieved. What is striking is China’s position as champion of TK, especially in regard to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

I wrote a blog for the Peace Palace Library in The Hague on the topic, see here.


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