The financial crisis of 2007-9 and the ensuing austerity put the political spotlight on the increasingly evident defects of the international framework for taxation of transnational corporations (TNCs). This attention will be heightened by the current COVID-19 crisis, which has led to even greater levels of state expenditure, including bailouts to business, and will bring an even sharper focus on taxation.
This short piece argues that while these arguments may hold sway, host African states continue to have primary responsibility and should rise to their obligation to protect human rights of impacted communities against the harmful effects of TNCs’ activities. Moreover, the controversies surrounding the extraterritorial jurisdiction of states and the silence of international law regarding enforceable obligation on TNCs demonstrate the difficulty in embracing the newer approaches regarding the roles of home states and TNCs.
Since TRIPS is extremely flexible on the PBRs regime to be adopted, they should obtain guidance from other balanced international instruments such as ITPGRFA. Further, they can obtain vital lessons from states such as India.