REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 66.2 OF THE TRIPS AGREEMENT
The following communication, dated 15 September 2021, from Canada, is being circulated pursuant to paragraph 1 of the Decision on Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement (document IP/C/28).
1. Article 66.2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) requires that 'developed country Members shall provide incentives to enterprises and institutions in their territories for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least developed country [LDC] Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base.'
2. Following the Decision of the Council for TRIPS of 19 February 2003 (document IP/C/28), developed country Members submit annual reports on the actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitments under TRIPS Article 66.2. Further to that decision, Members decided to provide new, detailed reports every third year, with updates in the intervening years. Canada's most recent detailed report was submitted in October 2020 (document IP/C/R/TTI/CAN/1). The present report constitutes an update to Canada's 2020 report, with a view to providing current information on incentives in this area. This includes a detailed overview of actions taken or planned, with information on specific project or programme incentives provided in Canada with respect to the technology transfer provisions under TRIPS Article 66.2. As in previous years, the Annex to this year's report provides an illustrative, non-exhaustive overview of incentives provided to Canadian enterprises and institutions in this area, which are either targeted specifically at LDCs or to groups of countries that at a minimum include an LDC.
3. It is noted that the activities in this report are distinct from those outlined in Canada's corresponding 2021 report on technical cooperation activities under Article 67 of the TRIPS Agreement (document IP/C/R/TC/CAN/2). However, as noted by various Members, and as expressed by the WTO Secretariat in the past, there is some overlap between the concepts of technology transfer and technical assistance. For instance, some forms of technical and financial assistance can constitute incentives for the transfer of technology, insofar as the IP-related legal and regulatory environment in a Member country can serve as a key consideration in creating enabling conditions for sustainable technology transfer.
4. A variety of financial and non-financial incentives can exist in developed country Members to facilitate the transfer of technology. These incentives may include, inter alia, co-financing, tax incentives, insurance, and technical advice, as well as aid grants and loans, such as by way of official development assistance (ODA) in support of technology transfer-focused projects, programmes and government-funded research. Most of the incentives outlined in this year's report fall under the latter category of programmes or projects funded by Canadian ODA, primarily those aimed at the transfer of technology to LDCs with a view to enabling them to create a sound and viable technological base.
5. Canada understands technology transfer to include the transfer of technology embedded in physical goods and services (such as machinery and equipment), as well as the dissemination of technical and business information and knowledge upon which a product, process or service is based, as well as the transfer of skills and know-how. Accordingly, technology transfer may include, for instance, the embedded IP in transferred goods and services, management and business know-how to support the production and distribution of goods and services; and human resource capacity-building.
6. Several Canadian government departments, agencies, and programmes are involved in providing direct or indirect incentives to Canadian enterprises and institutions to engage in activities involving technology transfer to LDCs. This document describes and updates on the ongoing activities of these bodies.
7. Canada notes the continuing interest of LDCs in learning more about the impact and the functioning of developed country Members' technology transfer incentives. As a result, and further to LDCs' October 2011 format proposal for reports submitted by the developed country Members under Article 66.2 (document IP/C/W/561), specific examples of technology transfer to LDCs are presented in the Annex to this year's report. As in previous reports, each example also includes an online link to the specific project or programme webpage, with a view to facilitating access to additional information on each technology transfer initiative. For ease of reference, the projects, programmes, and initiatives in the Annex have also been grouped thematically under the following headings:
- Digital economy, information and communications technology (ICT), and entrepreneurship;
- Agricultural technology and innovation;
- Environment and climate change technology and innovation;
- Health technology and innovation; and
- Education, Knowledge and Innovation.
8. Canada would be pleased to provide additional information on any of the examples outlined in this year's report upon request. Canada is also interested in exchanging further information with LDCs, as well as with developed country Members, on the types of incentives that are available to encourage technology transfer to LDCs, as well as with respect to priority sectors and technologies for LDCs.
9. Canada will participate in the Fifth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (23‑27 January, 2022) as an elected member of the Preparatory Committee Bureau throughout 2021‑2022. The preparatory process will involve negotiations for a new ten-year programme of action for LDCs to follow the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Decade 2011-2020. Technology transfer is likely to be considered for inclusion in the new programme of action. Canada's role on the bureau will provide further opportunities to engage with LDC Members and discuss their priorities for sustainable development in line with the United Nations' 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
3 GLOBAL AFFAIRS CANADA
10. Global Affairs Canada is the lead organization responsible for Canada's ODA, which is administered through the Department's development branches. The list provided in this year's report outlines a range of projects, programmes, and initiatives funded through Canadian ODA in partnership with private sector enterprises and institutions. A more exhaustive list of these initiatives is also available through Global Affairs Canada's searchable International Development Project Browser.
11. Global Affairs Canada works with a number of Canadian and international partners in providing development assistance, including by supporting the work of these key partners and stakeholders, and collaborates with many programming partners across various sectors of international development. For instance, Global Affairs Canada collaborates with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund to support the development, production, and commercialization of innovative and affordable vaccines against neglected livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South East Asia (see Section 4, 'International Development Research Centre', below).
4 INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH CENTRE (IDRC)
12. A Crown corporation reporting to Canada's Parliament through the Minister of International Development, IDRC invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve the lives of people in the developing world, including LDCs. IDRC provides financial support to researchers in developing countries to work on problems crucial to their communities; engages with researchers throughout the innovation process; and facilitates access to information and services, as well as to researchers, policymakers and businesspeople. IDRC was established in 1970 to help developing countries find solutions to their challenges.
13. With respect to technology transfer, IDRC supports research in LDCs to promote growth and development. It does so using an approach that combines financial support to create new opportunities for research, intellectual engagement and mentoring with recipients in the research process, and brokering that helps move research to policy. These activities assist LDCs to develop their own technologies, adapt existing technologies to their needs, and increase their know-how to manage research.
5 NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA (NRCan)
14. Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan's) Natural Resources Canada develops policies and programmes that enhance the contribution of the natural resources sector to the economy, improve quality of life, and conduct innovative science in facilities across Canada to generate ideas and transfer technologies. For instance, in coordination with Global Affairs Canada, NRCan assists LDC's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It offers technical assistance and financial incentives to LDC's that implement emission reduction programmes, strategies, policies, and systems to address deforestation and forest degradation.
6 National Research Council (NRC)
15. The National Research Council's (NRC's) Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) encourages and supports Canadian small and medium‑sized entities to develop international technology‑based partnerships, including in LDCs. IRAP, in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, supports group missions to explore opportunities for partnerships. IRAP also carries out activities independently and with other partners. In addition to group missions, IRAP is involved with individual companies, sectors and competitive technical intelligence. IRAP international initiatives are focused on providing support in a number of key areas, including:
- Direct support to small and medium-sized enterprises with international interests;
- Technology partnering, including technology sourcing, transfer, and matching; and
- Joint research and development projects, and other technology ventures.
7 ANNEX: REPRESENTATIVE PROJECT AND PROGRAMME EXAMPLES
16. This Annex presents an overview of representative project and programme examples supported by the principal Canadian departments and agencies involved in technology transfer activities.
The Annex is not an exhaustive list, but rather serves as an illustrative overview of the institutions and enterprises that transfer physical capital, goods, know-how, information, and data to LDCs, as supported through official development assistance and other government funding.
 Global Affairs Canada's International Development Project Browser, which is searchable by country, partner, sector, status, and project number, can be accessed at http://w05.international.gc.ca/projectbrowser-banqueprojets/