UC Law Science and Technology Journal


David M. Fox


International trade agreements often integrate provisions requiring the transfer of technology from developed to least-developed countries under the assumption that technological development in the world’s poorest countries will help solve pressing global concerns. At first, supplying tangible hardware and equipment to least-developed countries satisfied these trade obligations. Today, however, modern development theory calls for a broader understanding of “technology” to include knowledge, skills, and human resource development. Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement instructs developed country Members to incentivize domestic enterprises and institutions “for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least-developed country Members.” Least-developed countries protest that developed-country Members do not fulfill their obligations under Article 66.2, and that WTO enforcement of this provision does not satisfy current economic development standards. This paper looks critically at Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement and discusses whether developed countries are ensuring the successful flow of technology to resource-poor countries. Concluding that developed countries do not meet the Article 66.2 mandate, this paper outlines how the WTO may ensure the international community works to address the world’s most demanding needs.