Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Mr. Tony Miller (Hong Kong, China)
227. The Chairman recalled that, at its last two meetings, the Council had had before it a request from the Maldives for an extension of the transition period under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement for a further five years (IP/C/W/425). The Council had agreed that consultations be held on this request, and that the arrangements for these be coordinated between the Chair of the TRIPS Council and the Chair of the CTD. 228. Since then, the delegation of the Maldives had not been able to attend the meetings of the CTD and there had, therefore, not yet been an opportunity to organize consultations on this matter. At the meeting of the CTD held on 22 February 2005, the Chair of that body had informed Members that the Maldives had provided a written communication to the Committee stating that it wanted the UN to re-examine its position concerning the recent decision to graduate the Maldives from LDC status because of the devastating effects of the December tsunami on its economy (WT/COMTD/52). The CTD had agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting scheduled for 11 May 2005. 229. The Chairman informed Members that, on 20 December 2004, the United Nations' General Assembly had adopted a decision on "Smooth transition strategy for countries graduating from the list of least-developed countries". Paragraph 3(e) of that decision provided that "[t]hree years following the decision of the General Assembly to take note of the recommendation of the Committee for Development Policy to graduate a country from the list of least developed countries, graduation will become effective; during the three-year period, the country will remain on the list of least developed countries". The General Assembly had then taken note of the recommendation of the Committee for Development Policy to graduate Maldives from the group of least-developed countries. Maldives would thus retain its LDC status until 20 December 2007. 230. Given this three-year period in which the Maldives would retain its LDC status, there was no issue about it benefiting from the TRIPS transition period until the end of year 2005. The Chairman suggested, therefore, that the Council consider later in 2005 what action it should take in response to the Maldives' request for a five year extension of its transition period under the TRIPS Agreement, taking into consideration any further developments concerning the Maldives' status as an LDC and any further discussions in the CTD context on this matter.