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

Ambassador Dacio Castillo (Honduras)
Adoption of the agenda
2. The representative of India observed that a new agenda item K had been added to the already overstretched agenda. The stated aim was to "promote an exchange of information that can help eliminate counterfeits from the global supply chain". He had serious concerns over the adoption of the item. Firstly, the title of the US submission (IP/C/W/570) was confusing as it referred to the word "counterfeits" in a very loose fashion. IP issues were distinct from quality issues, and the Council was not a forum to discuss quality or safety issues. Its mandate was limited to discussions on the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. Since the scope of its Article 51 was limited to the enforcement of counterfeit trademark and copyright pirated goods, any discussion limited to these goods would be welcomed. 3. Secondly, the submission provided information on issues that were beyond the scope of the Agreement. Thus any discussion on technological tools or on government procurement policies could not be accepted. The Agreement provided flexibility to enforce its provisions and this flexibility needed to be protected. Thirdly, it was unfortunate that the proponents wished Members to discuss IP enforcement, when the submission was based on sources of information that were of questionable nature. Members could not be expected to discuss information based on news reports, dubious websites or articles published at the behest of big companies. Even the documents published by government agencies provided limited data and were one-sided. He therefore had serious concerns over the inputs required for any substantive engagement on the issue, and wondered whether the statistics mentioned in the submission could withstand the scrutiny of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism. Finally, any discussion in the WTO on item K would mean duplicating the work being done by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other specialized agencies. He therefore strongly opposed the adoption of item K.