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

Ambassador Federico A. González (Paraguay)
N.ii Annual review of the functioning of the Paragraph 6 System
253. The representative of India reiterated his delegation's request for an open-ended workshop on the implementation of the Paragraph 6 System. There was a need to move beyond the mere annual ritualistic review of the working of the System. To date, its use had been sub-optimal. Since the issue was of fundamental importance and interest to most WTO Members, it was important to hold a dedicated workshop, which would provide an opportunity for substantive and serious discussion on the relevant issues and involve all relevant stakeholders. There was no a priori assumption that the Paragraph 6 System was unworkable or that it needed to be amended. However, a fact-based discussion eight years after its adoption was essential for understanding its functioning and improving its operationalization. 254. Although the previous discussion on this subject had been useful, it had not depicted the full picture. The scope of discussion had to be expanded in order to involve other stakeholders. There was a need to understand why Doctors Without Borders (MSF) had argued that the System was neither expeditious nor a solution to the problem, why Apotex, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, had said that the System was unworkable, and why the System had only been used once. He asserted that the answer to many of these questions could be found if the Council agreed to a dedicated workshop. He was puzzled by some Members' opposition towards this proposal because many of them were supportive of enlarging the debate in the DSU negotiations. In that forum, they had suggested that allowing unsolicited and amicus curiae briefs in panel and Appellate Body proceedings would enrich the debate and would lead to better quality panel reports that would add to the credibility of the WTO. However, with respect to the Paragraph 6 System, which so many Members wanted to better understand, some delegations insisted on limiting the discussion to Members only. He hoped that constructive engagement would clear the road blocks to an early organization of an open-ended workshop on the Paragraph 6 System.