TOPIC A Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
TOPIC B Building Trade Capacity in Developing Countries
- Josh Terry
- Aidan Grogan
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the largest intergovernmental organization dedicated to facilitating trade between nations. By creating trade agreements and settling disputes between its 164 member states, the WTO seeks to ensure that trade flows smoothly, fairly, predictably, and freely. This important mission places the WTO at the center of the global economy, affecting the lives of every nation’s citizens.
At MUNUC 34 delegates will simulate the WTO’s Ministerial Conference, in which trade ministers from around the world meet to discuss a broad range of issues covered by WTO trade agreements. The topics covered this year touch on issues of economic, social, and political significance and will challenge delegates to craft multi-faceted and thorough solutions. Delegates are encouraged to read the background guide for more detailed information about the following topics.
Topic A: Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
The protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in international trade is an issue of growing importance. As the global economy shifts towards knowledge-based industries like information technology and pharmaceuticals, protecting creations of the mind through patents, copyrights, and other forms of IPRs is imperative to promoting trade in ideas. IPRs are not a panacea, however; they incentivize innovation in the long-run but also impose short-term costs on society by preventing the free flow of information and technology. Delegates will be challenged to redefine how IPRs should function in the age of ubiquitous technology and create greater uniformity in the treatment of IPRs between WTO member states.
Topic B: Building Trade Capacity in Developing Countries
Developing countries face unique hurdles to participating in mutually beneficial international trade. These countries often lack the knowledge, institutions, and physical infrastructure needed to benefit from multilateral trade. Delegates will be tasked with helping developing countries overcome these challenges by crafting solutions that address the root causes of imbalances between developing and developed WTO member states. In particular, delegates will seek to strengthen the human and institutional capacity of developing countries, allowing these countries to fully engage with the WTO’s complex rules-based trade system.