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

Ambassador Mothusi Palai (Botswana)
450. The delegation of Uruguay wishes to restate as it has been doing ever since this issue was first addressed by the Council in June 2011 its position in favour of the legitimacy of the measures relating to the plain packaging of tobacco products under the WTO rules and the TRIPS Agreement in particular. 451. Uruguay is of the opinion that protection of public health clearly falls under the sovereign authority of States and it accordingly believes that every country is entitled to legislate in the public interest. This has been recognized by the Membership as a whole in this and other WTO fora. 452. In particular, we wish to emphasize that Article 20 of the TRIPS Agreement provides that the use of a trademark should not be "unjustifiably" encumbered by special requirements. We consider that the implementation by States of measures designed to combat in their territories a pandemic such as tobacco consumption, which has devastating health, social and economic consequences, cannot be considered "unjustified" and therefore contrary to the Agreement. 453. We would recall that paragraph 4 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health states that the Agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO Members' right to protect public health. 454. We also wish to recall that these measures merely implement the commitments undertaken by the 180 Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which include Ireland and the United Kingdom. Particular mention should be made of the obligations under Article 11 of the Convention, which requires Parties to adopt and implement effective measures in respect of the packaging and labelling of tobacco products. 455. In this respect and in view of the foregoing, Uruguay supports the decisions taken by the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The Council took note of the statements made.
12.1. The Chairman said that this item had been put on the agenda at the written request by the delegation of the Dominican Republic.

12.2. The representatives of the Dominican Republic; the European Union; Nicaragua; Honduras; Cuba; Indonesia; Nigeria; Zimbabwe; Australia; Uruguay; Canada; Norway; New Zealand; and the World Health Organization took the floor.

12.3. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/78, IP/C/M/78/Add.1