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Conflicting aims: sustainable development and intellectual property rights in Canadian foreign policy

Resource type
Thesis type
(Research Project) M.A.
Date created
Controversy over intellectual property (IP) is not a new issue; however, IP protection is receiving greater attention as this protection covers a more diverse subject matter and affords stronger protection toIP than ever before. IP protection is an important variable in the development prospects for many countries as the extent of IP has implications on environmental, economic and social well-being. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) maintains a commitment to protecting IP internationally through multiple and bilateral trade and investment agreements. At the same time, DFAIT puts forward a sustainable development agenda that pledges the department to incorporating concerns over the economic, environmental and social well-being of developing countries through multilateral agreements. In this paper, I argue that DFAIT’s commitment to IP protection undermines its sustainable development policy. This project will investigate the issue in more detail and examine the reasons for this disconnect in Canadian foreign policy.
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