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

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama)
121. Australia is committed to assisting least developed countries (LDCs) in the area of technology transfer, pursuant to the Council's decision on the implementation of Article 66.2 TRIPS. 122. Australia thanks the Secretariat for organizing the annual workshop which was held yesterday on this issue. Australia has attended these workshops since their inception in 2008. We find them a very useful forum for exchanging views, which have positively influenced how Australia prepares our reports, leading to better information sharing. 123. This year, Australia has submitted an updated report on the implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. The report updates our 2012 report to include incentives and support to Australian institutions and enterprises to promote and encourage technology transfer to LDCs to cover activities since October 2012. In many cases, we are pleased to report follow-on initiatives that are building on those reported in 2012. In 2013, education of LDC nationals and their training in the use and management of technological equipment continues to be a large part of Australia's focus. For example, in 2013 the Australia Awards provided around $A100 million to enable 1,575 students from LDCs to undertake study at Australian tertiary institutions. Forty-five of the 49 LDCs have students in the 2013 intake undertaking scholarship programmes. 124. The report also contains some specific 2013 initiatives which are encouraging technology transfer, for example: - A $A3.9 million research programme, which will identify appropriate small-scale machines (e.g. two-wheel tractors) to improve farming practices in LDCs, including Ethiopia and Tanzania; and - a $A3 million research project on incentives and barriers to adoption of agricultural innovations by smallholder farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa, including Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Further details on particular initiatives and the relevant Australian Government agency with responsibility for their implementation can be found in the report.
The Council took note of the statements made.
10.1. The Chairman recalled that, at its meeting in February 2003, the Council had adopted a decision on the "Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement". Paragraph 1 of the Decision provided that developed country Members shall submit annually reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2. To this end, they were to provide new detailed reports every third year and, in the intervening years, provide updates to their most recent reports. These reports were to be submitted prior to the last Council meeting scheduled for the year in question. The fourth set of detailed annual reports under the Decision had been presented to the Council's meeting in November 2012. At its meeting in June 2013, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit a first set of updates to these reports for the present meeting. The Secretariat had issued on 8 August 2013 an airgram (WTO/AIR/4166) to remind developed country Members of this request.

10.2. The Council had received updates to the fourth set of detailed annual reports from the following developed country Members: Japan; New Zealand; Canada; the European Union and individual member States, namely Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; as well as Norway; Switzerland, the United States, and Australia (document IP/C/W/594 and addenda).

10.3. As regards the purpose and conduct of the review of this information, paragraph 2 of the Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement explained that the annual review meetings shall provide Members with an opportunity to pose questions in relation to the information submitted and request additional information; discuss the effectiveness of the incentives provided in promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least developed country Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base; and consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision.

10.4. Since some of the information had been received only recently and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language, he said that he intended to provide an opportunity, at the Council's next meeting, for Members to make further comments on the information submitted for this meeting that they might not yet have been able to study, and also to comment any additional information that might yet be provided before that meeting.

10.5. For the sixth year in a row, the Secretariat had organized, at the request by LDC Members, a workshop on transfer of technology under Article 66.2 back-to-back to with the Council's end-of-year meeting. This time, this workshop had been held on Wednesday afternoon, 9 October 2013. It had again brought together LDC and developed country experts to discuss this matter at a very practical level, building on the earlier workshops. There had again been a constructive exchange of views which had been useful to both LDC and developed country delegations.

10.6. He recalled that, at the tenth review, Haiti on behalf of the LDC Group had requested that the Council adopt the proposed format for reports submitted by developed country Members under Article 66.2 contained in a communication submitted by Angola on behalf of the LDC Group prior to the ninth review (IP/C/W/561). Since then, he had discussed this issue with some interested delegations. He also recalled that the Secretariat had informed the Council a number of times on its work to develop an information management tool for this purpose. One thing that was being explored was how the substantive concerns could be reflected in any such new tools. This had also been considered at the workshop.

10.7. The representatives of Australia, the WTO Secretariat, Angola, India, the United States and the European Union took the floor under this agenda item. The statements will be reproduced in an addendum to the present record.

10.8. The Chairman thanked the Secretariat for organizing once more the Workshop and the delegations concerned for their constructive contributions at the workshop. He urged those developed country Members that had not yet provided reports to do so, and said that it was his intention to provide an opportunity at the next meeting for Members of the Council to make further comments on the information submitted for the present meeting that they might not yet have been able to study.

10.9. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/74, IP/C/M/74/Add.1