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

Ambassador Choi Hyuck (Korea)
United States of America
267. The representative of the United States said that, while he understood the concerns that had been raised by LDCs in making this request, in particular human resource constraints, levels of poverty and similar considerations, he had some concerns about the request. IP protection was a necessary ingredient, although certainly not the sole ingredient in establishing a sound investment climate, establishing a viable technology base and in leading to economic development. In that light, he strongly disagreed with a number of comments by the delegations of Argentina and Brazil. He said that numerous studies supported the view that strong IP rights were complementary and necessary for establishing a viable technological basis and promoting economic development. At a recent WTO symposium on sustainable development, it had been stated that there were strong positive correlations between the adoption of TRIPS reforms in low- and middle-income developing countries and levels of technology transfer. One notable finding in the presentation in question was that there had not been such indicia of technology transfer among LDCs, many of which had not yet assumed their TRIPS obligations. For him, it seemed premature, or perhaps even irresponsible, to send a signal that all LDCs might be incapable of protecting IP. As to the WIPO development agenda and related comments by Argentina, he noted that many proposals by both developed and a significant number of developing countries had been made at WIPO in that context that recognized a positive relationship between robust IP protection and technological and economic development. 268. While recognizing the good intentions behind the request for extension, he wondered whether a blanket extension might merely serve to delay the development of a viable technology base in LDCs. Furthermore, the proposal might not adequately take into account the fact that different LDCs had achieved different levels of implementation and that the situation therefore varied from country to country. In that light, the decision would have to be based on the actual needs of particular countries. One could build on what had already been done at the national level in these countries and thereby ensure that all WTO Members would reap the benefits of the TRIPS Agreement. More information on the status of implementation efforts by individual countries and, in particular, on the areas where challenges were faced, would be useful in coming to a comprehensive and positive decision on the request. In this regard, he noted that a number of LDC delegations, for example Uganda, had specifically mentioned the need for assistance. This would allow his delegation to identify particular areas where these challenges were faced and where assistance was needed.