[JURIST] Bolivian officials Monday rejected [press release, archived, in Spanish] a Peruvian proposal to expand intellectual property protections, arguing that the amendment would be illegal and would harm the Bolivian economy. Peru is anxious to strengthen its intellectual property laws because its trade agreements with third countries are contingent on their development. Bolivian officials said that widening the Common Intellectual Property Regime [text] of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) [official website] and effectively allowing free trade agreements would encourage the influx of transnational corporations by offering them greater intellectual property protections. President Evo Morales [official profile, in Spanish] spoke out against the amendment, which he said would specifically prevent access to constitutionally guaranteed health care [Bol Press report, in Spanish] by granting patent holders more protection. Bolivian authorities also said that the amendment would violate CAN policy governing third-country trade agreements [Decision 598 text] because Peruvian free trade would harm other CAN countries. El Mundo has more, in Spanish.
Bolivia's rejection occurred at the same time that council members of the Andean Community, which includes Bolivia, Peru, Columbia and Ecuador, met to discuss the proposed amendments [Prensa Latina report]. Under CAN law, trade policies may only be modified with the permission of the member states. The governments of Bolivia and Ecuador have both rejected [AP report] Peruvian attempts to expand intellectual property protections, and Columbia has a pending free trade deal with the US.