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AANZFTA Protects and Promotes Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Traditional Cultural Expressions in AANZFTA

9 August 2021

JAKARTA, 9 August 2021 – A two-day regional workshop on developing relevant national policies and laws related to the Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions (GRTKTCE) was held virtually on 4–5 August.

The workshop gathered 39 participants from 11 Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) in ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) region.

Participants discussed outcomes of a Comparative Study of the Existing GR, TK, and TCE Legislation and Approaches with Recommendations for Best Practice National Policies and Laws, including important findings and compilation of best practices. The regional workshop also provided an avenue for AANZFTA IPOs’ representatives to discuss key considerations and recommendations, both legal and non-legal, for possible model national policies and laws on IP related aspects of GRTKTCE proposed in the Comparative Study. 

The discussions at the workshop have enriched and sharpened the key findings and recommendations of the Comparative Study for final refinement. The final outcome from this project is expected to assist AANZFTA IPOs in enhancing GRTKTCE promotion and protection in their respective countries, with a view to reducing impediments to free trade and promote economic integration in the AANZFTA region.

Theodore Pascual, Deputy Director-General of Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, said, “this workshop provided deeper knowledge, understanding and engagement through the participants, particularly the ASEAN Member States concerned. The participants, having widened their knowledge and perspectives on the topic and perhaps have now become more equipped, I should say, and prepared to carry out the intended objectives of the workshop when they return to their respective countries or organisations. Following the discussions, it is a good opportunity for all participants to reflect on their respective current legislations and regulations governing GRTKTCE protection. The presentations today can be a very good reference should some or all of you decide to enact or amend your laws to protect your GRTKTCE.” 

On his part, Marcus Smith, Senior Policy Advisor at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand highlighted, “The workshop and comparative study highlights to us is that the needs of indigenous peoples in local communities vary from state to state, and a range of policy interventions will therefore be required. The workshop and the comparative study have been beneficial for us all in raising collective awareness of the different policy interventions that have been applied to date, and reflecting on what interventions are best suited to our domestic circumstances.” 

The regional workshop was organised by Terri Janke and Company (TJC) as the last activity under the project on Comparative Study on GRTKTCE Phase 1. The project is undertaken in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and is supported by the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Programme (AECSP).

For more information on this project or the AECSP, please contact the AANZFTA Support Unit via a contact form at
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