Access and Benefit Sharing
Genetic resources – commonly understood as almost any biological material containing DNA or RNA, including cells, tissues, and whole organisms of all plants, animals and microorganisms – are important for innovation and the development of new products across a wide range of industries, including the agricultural, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic sectors. Access to these resources is critical for U.S. private and public researchers. As a leader in genetic research and development, the United States has a strong interest in international systems and country approaches that support both appropriate access to and benefit-sharing of genetic resources.
The United States engages bilaterally with countries to encourage them to establish balanced national Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regimes that facilitate access to genetic resources as well as mutually agreed terms for benefit-sharing, protect the interests of different sectors and users, and minimize administrative and transaction costs. ECW leads on policy development, working together with relevant U.S. agencies, and ensures that U.S. stakeholders are aware of the changing international ABS landscape.