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Cablegate: Nigeria On Trips, Agriculture and Services

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 002758

SIPDIS


WHITE HOUSE PASS TO USTR


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD NI WTO USTR
SUBJECT: NIGERIA ON TRIPS, AGRICULTURE AND SERVICES


REF: STATE 178945


1. EconOff delivered reftel information on 25 October to Mr.
Y.T. Agah, Assistant Director responsible for Multilateral
Affairs at the Federal Ministry of Commerce. Agah raised
concern over geographical indication (GI) protections for
indigenous plants, especially those with medicinal value, and
the use of seeds from patented bio-engineered plants.


2. The problem with GI protection, Agah argued, was that
currently any person could reengineer plants deriving from a
limited geographical area, patent the results and be the sole
beneficiaries of that plant's benefits. This system, he
averred, does not necessarily benefit the geographic zone
where the product originated.


3. Regarding the use of seeds from bio-engineered crops, Agah
commented that the proposed regime, unlike the previous WIPO
regime, was incompatible between the needs of the patent
holder and the local community. Prohibiting the use of
secondary seeds for subsistence farmers, who are not
commercial users or market competitors, would disadvantage
developing countries' food security. Agah mentioned there
was OAU model legislation on breeders and farmers rights to
address developing country concerns on this issue.


4. EconOff asked whether Nigeria had completed its review for
the upcoming WTO round in Doha. Agah replied in the
negative, but commented that Nigeria would support removal of
subsidies and other protections on agriculture and would like
to see progressive liberalization of services, particularly
those Nigeria scheduled, such as banking, insurance, tourism,
transport, and communications. The GON might decide to add
professional services to its schedule of services. Nigeria
would also press for progress on natural persons, which is
necessary to maintain balance within the services agreement,
Agah said.
Andrews

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