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

Ambassador Dacio Castillo (Honduras)
6.13. The representative of South Africa said that South Africa was fully committed to upholding its obligations and commitments as set out in the different WTO agreements. The purpose and aim of GATT Article XXIII was to ensure compliance with the GATT rules and principles by providing Members with an opportunity to make representation should the situation provided for in subparagraphs 1(a) and 1(b) arise. This was different from what the TRIPS Agreement sought to achieve. The TRIPS Agreement was a sui generic agreement. It was not aimed at promoting market access or harmonizing the standards of Members with regard to the protection and enforcement of IPRs. It provided the minimum standards for the protection and enforcement on IPRs. 6.14. The application of subparagraphs 1(b) and 1(c) of Article XXIII of GATT 1994 in the TRIPS context would undermine the sovereign rights of the respective Members as far as putting in place the laws that would protect IPRs within their borders were concerned. The application would furthermore restrict the flexibilities provided to Members and defeat the balance that had been maintained under the TRIPS Agreement. South Africa recognized the need for the protection and enforcement of IPRs but the application of non-violation and situation complaints would not be practical under the TRIPS Agreement.