The contest between competing knowledge networks is raging in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over diverse interpretations of the Agreement on Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The sharpest conflict is between trade and public health. To what extent can persuasion and principled argument can be a potent asset for the weak to bring about desired change? How can the legal debate over the boundaries of the WTO and the extent to which declarations, laws, and regulations promulgated in other venues are relevant to WTO deliberations help developing countries devise strategies to press their concerns more effectively? Given sharply asymmetrical power relationships, what are the prospects for achieving outcomes that better balance public health and commercial concerns? This paper argues that principled argument has the potential to alter actors' interests and outcomes. While coercion is a viable weapon of the strong, principled argument can be a potent asset for the weak to bring about desired change. This is especially the case when such discursive strategies are coupled with the strategic use of a variety of institutions.
|Journal||Temple Law Review|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|