Niveau juridique : International
En juin 2017 a eu lieu la 28ème série de négociation sur l’accord de libre échange entre l’Union européenne et le Mercosur.
Deux chapitres peuvent plus particulièrement concerner la problématique des semences : le chapitre sur le commerce et le développement durable (Trade and Sustainable Development – TSD) et celui sur la propriété intellectuelle.
Chapitre Commerce et développement durable
On peut relever que certains domaines, en particulier les questions relatives à la biodiversité et aux ressources génétiques et celles relatives à l’agriculture semblent poser problème.
Alors que le Mercosur souhaiterai inclure dans cet article un point établissant le fait que les parties s’engagent à promouvoir mise en place de mesures sur l’accès aux ressources génétiques, le consentement préalable et le partage juste et équitable des avantages découlant de l’utilisation des ressources génétiques, l’Union européenne semble réticente à s’engager sur ce point.
Ainsi, selon l’analyse de bilateral.org :
« The Article on biodiversity (Art 7) largely reproduces what has been formerly proposed in JEFTA. Interesting to note that however is that Mercosur has proposed a provision (Art. 7.2(c)) which commits Parties to “promote the establishment of measures on access to genetic resources, prior informed consent and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.” As it is not incorporated, this appears to have not been accepted by the EU. Nor have any of the more detailed proposals from Mercosur which relate to patenting of genetic materials under the Chapter on Intellectual Property Rights (see Mercosur proposals for Arts. 5 and 13 of the IP Chapter, p 385 et seq). This is interesting because the EU has expressed support in principle for the adoption of a mechanism requiring mandatory disclosure within WIPO discussions, provided it does not affect the validity of a granted patent.Developing countries (predominantly Brazil, China, India, South Africa and countries of the Andean Community) and some NGOs have long advocated that the international intellectual property regime needs to adopt such obligations for patents and plant variety protection in order to tackle large-scale appropriation without benefit-sharing. Disclosure obligations were mooted by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2002 as an effective way to tackle the issue of genetic resources, but the resulting Bonn Guidelines only “encourage” disclosure.Neither the CBD itself nor the Nagoya Protocol contains provisions for mandatory disclosure obligations.
The JEFTA proposal has also failed to address the issue, although its impact might have been significant given that the EU and Japan markets account for some 40% of biotechnology patents worldwide – 28.1% and 11.9%.This failure might have been put down to intransigence of the other negotiating Party -the Japanese government and Japanese industry have strongly opposed disclosure measures to improve sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. But the fact that the text has not yet been adopted suggest that the EU opposes Mercosur’s proposal on this issue. »
Note : le JEFTA (Japan -EU Free Trade Agreement) est l’accord de libre-échange entre l’Union européeenne et le Japon
Le texte du chapitre « Trade and Sustainable Development » à lire ici (avec les positions des deux parties)
Chapitre sur les droits de propriété intellectuelle
Ici, il est intéressant de noter que c’est l’UE qui semble porter la question de la protection des variétés végétales. Cette dernière souhaite en effet ajouter cet item dans l’article 3 qui délimite le champs des droits de propriété intellectuelle. Cela tient bien entendu à l’attachement de l’UE au système du certificat d’obtention végétale.
Dans la même lignée, la demande de l’UE d’ajout d’une sous-section 6 « Plant Varieties »
« Each Party shall protect plant varieties rights, in accordance with the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants adopted in Paris on 2 December 1961, as lastly revised in Geneva on March 19, 1991 (1991 UPOV ACT), including the exceptions to the breeder ’s right as referred to in Article 15 of the said Convention, and co-operate to promote and enforce these rights. »
Le Mercosur semble en revanche leader sur la question de la protection de la biodiversité et des savoirs traditionnels. Ainsi la proposition d’article 5 :
« Article 5
Protection of Biodiversity and Traditional knowledge
1.The Parties recognise the importance and value of biological diversity and its components and of the associated traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities (4).
The Parties furthermore reaffirm their sovereign rights over their natural resources and recognise their rights and obligations as established by the Convention of Biological Diversity of 1992 (henceforth referred to as CBD).
2.The Parties reaffirm Article 8(j) of the CBD and recognise the past, present and future contribution of indigenous and local communities to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and all of its components and, in general, the contribution of the traditional knowledge (5) of their indigenous and local communities to the culture and to the economic and social development of nations.
3.In accordance with Article 15 paragraph 7 of the CBD, the Parties reaffirm their obligation to take measures with the aim of sharing in afair and equitable way the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources. The Parties also recognise that benefit-sharing obligations shall include commercialisation of products originating from licensed intellectual property rights arising from the use of genetic resources or associated traditional knowledge and shall be on mutually agreed terms.
4.MERCOSUR and the EU shall collaborate in further clarifying the issue and concept of misappropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, innovation and practices so as to find, as appropriate and in accordance with the provisions of international and domestic law, measures to address this issue.
5.The Parties shall cooperate, subject to domestic legislation and international law, to ensure that intellectual property rights are supportive of, and do not run counter to, their rights and obligations under the CBD, in so far as genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge of the indigenous and local communities located in their respective territories are concerned. The Parties reaffirm their rights and obligations under Article 16 paragraph 3 of the CBD in relation to countries providing genetic resources, to take measures with the aim to provide access to and transfer of technology which makes use of such resources, upon mutually agreed terms. This provision shall apply without prejudice to the rights and obligations under Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement.
6.The Parties shall require the disclosure of the origin or source of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge in patent applications, considering that this contributes to the transparency about the uses of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. It also enhances the traceability of the use of the resources or knowledge and builds mutual trust among all stakeholders involved in access and benefit sharing.
7.The Parties agree that benefits arising from the commercialisation of products originating from the utilisation of genetic resources or associated traditional knowledge, including those developed from the utilisation of digital sequence information, shall be shared in a fair and equitable way with the country of origin of such resource.
8.In accordance with applicable international and domestic law, the Parties agree to collaborate in the application of domestic frameworks on access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, innovations and practices.
9.Recognising the special nature of agricultural biodiversity, its distinctive features and problems needing distinctive solutions, the parties agree that access to genetic resources for food and agriculture shall be subject to specific treatment, in accordance with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (2001).
10.The Parties may, by mutual agreement, review this Article subject to the results and conclusions of multilateral discussions. The Parties agree that access facilitation and benefit-sharing obligations shall be treated as parts of a single undertaking and shall not be agreed upon separately.]
[Placeholder: MERCOSUR will include text on protection of biodiversity and traditional knowledge]
(4) Where applicable, “indigenous and local communities”include descendants of enslaved Africans.
(5) Without prejudice to the implementation of this Chapter, the Parties acknowledge that the concept of traditional knowledge is discussedin relevant international fora. »
Texte du chapitre (avec les positions des deux parties) ici