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Teaming Up? China, India and Brazil and the Issue of Benefit-Sharing from Genetic Resource Use

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Valbona Muzaka, Omar Ramon Serrano

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-754
Number of pages21
JournalNew Political Economy
Issue number5
Early online date1 Mar 2019
Accepted/In press12 Feb 2019
E-pub ahead of print1 Mar 2019


King's Authors


This article focuses on an area that has not been systematically addressed but is of crucial importance to China, India and Brazil: the global governance of genetic resources. All three are biodiversity-rich and, ever since biotechnology promised to turn DNA into gold, have been significant players in the genetic-resources regime complex. Shortcomings notwithstanding, the establishment of a new access and benefit-sharing regime constitutes a rare instance where emerging countries have succeeded in becoming rule-makers of sorts. We analyse how these three countries have sought to pursue their interests in this area, especially after the extension of national sovereignty over previously ‘free’ genetic resources and the erection of a complex set of rules attempting to regulate access to and benefits from their utilisation from the early 1990s onwards. Despite presenting a generally unified front in international fora, their domestic implementation differs significantly and raises questions about the continuation of a common international position. The article adds to our understanding of emerging countries’ engagement with global governance by focusing on the concrete drivers and domestic processes that have motivated and shaped the agency of China, India and Brazil in this new policy regime.

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