PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION IN THAILAND
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The Government of Thailand decided recently to introduce a legal system for the protection of plant variety right (PVR) in order to meet its commitment under the TRIPs agreement (part of the WTO agreement) to protect new varieties of plants. Having taken this significant decision - although in reality the decision was probably little more than a formality because of the TRIPs commitment - the government must assess the likely impact of PVR on public and private interests in Thailand and, in the light of that assessment, construct a PVR system suited to the country's particular needs (so far as these can be envisaged). The likely impact of the government's decision and the choice to be made constitute the backbone of this thesis as well as its prime focus. A PVR system is intended primarily to promote invention and innovation in the field of plant breeding. Whether the availability of PVR in Thailand will achieve those objectives cannot be said at this point. Studies carried out in countries with mature PVR systems claim, despite the lack of any solid evidence on which to found the claims, that PVR systems have certain positive or beneficial effects, for example more varieties giving higher yields and better adapted to growing conditions. On the other hand, some commentators believe that these benefits result from other factors, in particular technological advances (for example, improvements in cultivation and management of commercial crops). This thesis concludes that the availability or grant of PVR in Thailand will not have any radical impact on public and private interests there. At present, plant breeding and seed production are carried out by public and private sectors. Available data on seed production and consumption indicate the need for more investment in plant breeding and seed production, particularly in the private sector. A PVR system is unlikely to encourage breeders or producers to invest more because the availability of PVR is not a vital determinant in investment decisions. Fortunately. as far as can be seen at present, a PVR system is unlikely to have negative effects, e. g. seed price rises, obstacles to technological development or environmental dangers. In considering the most appropriate system, the major factors to be assessed are economic impact, existing political commitment, and practicality. The government should adopt the system established by the 1978 UPOV Convention, in preference to the 1991 Convention, because the earlier Convention is the more appropriate for Thailand's developmental needs.
- Theses