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

Ambassador Choi Hyuck (Korea)
176. The representative of Brazil said that the issue of TRIPS and public health was taken very seriously by his delegation. A national AIDS Programme provided free medicine for AIDS victims, publicly funded in its entirety. Another national programme provided universal access to medicines for his country's citizens who could not afford to pay for them privately, covering all sorts of illnesses, including the ones that were endemic to tropical climates. The cost of medicines weighed heavily on his country's tax payers at large, whether wealthy or poor, and was one of the major components of expenditures in the national budget. 177. He recalled that his delegation had played an active role during the whole process leading to the Decision. An amendment to the TRIPS Agreement incorporating the Decision was a very sensitive and important issue. A delicate balance had been struck that had made the adoption of the Decision possible. The Decision included a paragraph which gave the TRIPS Council a mandate to prepare an amendment to the TRIPS Agreement based, where appropriate, on the Decision. No reference had been made in the Decision to the Chairman's Statement read at the time of its adoption by the General Council. He was concerned about references made by certain Members to an agreed solution, an agreed package or other references of this type. The only agreement recognized by his delegation was the Decision itself. While the value of the Chairman's Statement was not questioned, its legal status should not be changed. For this reason, his delegation had been among those delegations that had asked the Secretariat to remove an asterisked note that it had included on its own behalf in the Decision. The corrigendum issued by the Secretariat contained additional language clarifying that the asterisked note was a Secretariat note for information purposes only and without prejudice to Members' legal rights and obligations. This corrigendum did not solve the problem, because the reference made by the Secretariat was subsequently nullified by the affirmation that the Decision was adopted in the light of the statement read out by the Chairman. It did not reflect the situation during the adoption of the Decision which had been based on a document that had contained no asterisked note and no reference to the Chairman's Statement. His delegation maintained its position that the asterisked note should be removed from the Decision. 178. He recalled that his delegation had stated on previous occasions that it recognized the African Group proposal for an amendment to the TRIPS Agreement as the only proposal on the table. It provided a very good basis for an amendment and his delegation was prepared to work on the basis of it towards an amendment to include the Decision. Some elements in the African Group proposal were convincing, such as the suggested removal of those parts which became redundant once the Decision had been transposed into an amendment to the TRIPS Agreement. For example, a reference to paragraph 6(ii) on regional patent systems constituted more of a policy advice to certain Members then a text that should become an integral part of the TRIPS Agreement and should therefore not be included in the amendment. It should be ensured that the draft amendment was consistent both legally as well as in substance. He reiterated his delegation's interest to participate in consultations carried out by the Chairman.