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

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama)
133. I would like to thank the Secretariat for the information that they have provided and also for convening and organizing the workshop, which saw presentations of the annual report from developed countries on the implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. Allow me to thank at this juncture our partners on behalf of the LDC Group. We are very grateful to them for their efforts for the gathering of data for the preparation of this report since we note that certain partners have made an effort/gone the extra mile to present the data in the format that we were seeking. And that is something which we should very much commend those partners for. 134. In addition I would like to say that the LDC Group has been seeking formal adoption by the TRIPS Council of the standardized format for the presentation of future reports. This is a very important because it enables us to assess programmes quickly. For example, if you look at the reports that were submitted last time round, of the 145 programmes, projects or activities that are presented therein only 10-15% are genuinely intended for technical transfer to developing county LDCs. The others relate to technical assistance programmes or development aid under that Article 67. With the standardized formats, we really can see which projects are focused on LDCs, which projects fall outside of that and are not actually part and parcel of the implementation of Article 66.2. So this is the first request we have had to look at whether the partners would be willing to call for the formal adoption of this standard format by the TRIPS Council. 135. A further point is that the LDCs within the Group have begun reflection as to the possibility of engaging in the revision of the 2003 Decision itself. As you know, in that Decision in paragraph 4 it is provided that every three years it should be possible to re-examine or review the Decision of the content thereof and so our Group is engaging in reflection in that direction. The aim of this is first of all to improve the presentation of the reports; the second is to fix parameters as to what it is that we understand by technology transfer; and thirdly, to seek with our partners to try and come up with a framework that takes into account the situation on the ground. The Decision was taken in 2003 and the economic crisis had not yet happened. Things have changed since then. We therefore feel it would be appropriate for the Decision to be reviewed. It has been in place for ten years or so and a review is long overdue. So perhaps at the next Council, we might be in a position to table a specific proposal as we have done in the past, such that we can discuss the parameters relating to this Article.
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