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

Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China)
212. The representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the LDC Group, said that there had been notable progress in the format and contents of reports submitted under the Article 66.2 review. However, there was still room for further improvement to ensure that the process was not just about fulfilling notification obligations, but about having tangible results in terms of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to LDC Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base. He thanked the WTO Secretariat for convening the eighth annual review, in line with the decision by the Ministers in Doha, Qatar in 2001, calling upon Members to put in place a mechanism for ensuring the monitoring and the full implementation of the Article 66.2 obligations. He recalled that paragraph 1 of the decision of the TRIPS Council of 19 February 2003 called upon developed country Members to submit annually reports on action taken and planned in pursuant of their commitments under Article 66.2. To this end, they shall provide new detailed reports every third year and, in the intervening years provide updates to their most recent reports. Those reports shall be submitted prior to the last Council meeting scheduled for the year in question. 213. The purpose of the review was threefold: first, to provide Members an opportunity to pose questions in relation to the information submitted and request additional information; second, to discuss the effectiveness of the incentives provided in promoting and encouraging technology transfer to LDC Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base; and third, to consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision. He thanked those developed countries that had provided the pulse to the TRIPS Council on incentives they had provided to their enterprises and institutions in their territories with a view to promoting and encouraging transfer of technology to LDCs in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base. 214. Article 66.2 contained an obligation for developed country Members. This obligation was specific to LDCs and was about providing incentives to enterprises and institutions in developed country Members territories. The purpose was to promote and encourage the transfer of technology; the ultimate objective was to enable LDCs to create a sound and viable technological base. That effort should be the basis for measuring the effectiveness of incentives provided to LDCs. In order to ensure quality reporting, there was a need for the Council to begin deliberating on critical elements with a view to developing a common understanding of the contents of the reports. He said that the LDC Group had identified two critical areas in relation to the Article 66.2 obligations: the definition of technology transfer and illustrations of the type of incentives. 215. As regards the definition of technology transfer, it was clear from the reports that had so far been submitted that there was a lack of common understanding of what constituted technological transfer. Hence the inclusion in some reports of technical cooperation activities. It would be useful to provide a non-exhaustive list of what could possibly be regarded as technology transfer for the purposes of Article 66.2. 216. Regarding the type of incentives, it would equally be important to have a non-exhaustive list to guide the reports. It would also be useful to have showcases, and to hold brainstorming sessions on specific examples of incentives that had led to transfer of technology and subsequent contribution to the building of a sound and viable technology base in LDCs. 217. In order to draw best practices, there was a need to ensure that the reports were LDC-specific and that incentives resulting in transfer of technology were distinct from technical cooperation activities provided under Article 67. The reports should also provide an indication of funding or budget allocated for staff incentive programmes and follow a harmonized format. To this end, he reiterated the proposal that the Council identify clear parameters on the nature of technology transfer and on the types of incentives provided by developed countries to their enterprises and the institutions. To this end the LDC Group had circulated a possible template that could be considered. He looked forward to receiving remarks on that. It would also be useful to work towards having a toolkit for assessing the impact of technology transfer.