CONSOLIDATION, DELIMITATION AND STALEMATE. Disruptive Interplay and Strategic Incentives in the CBD-TRIPS Relationship
The relationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is characterized by a persistent potential for disruptions in implementation, such as 'biopiracy' conflicts, because of the agreements' incompatible provisions on property rights over genetic resources. The lack of consolidation is often explained by attempts to strategicallly exploit interplay between the two istitutions. Countries of the North and the South are said to push for provisions under their preferred agreement in order to circumvent obligations under the other. We develop an alternative explanation based on a conception of international negotiators acting as agents of particular interest groups rather than as representatives of the state as a whole. Using a Two-level Games model of independent negotiations for agreements on functionally interdependent issues, we analyze the incentives for negotiators to delay or prevent consolidation for strategic reasons. Our analysis shows that, under certain conditions, persistent disruption may be due to a strategic dilemma that prevents negotiators from taking initiatives for consolidation.
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