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

Ambassador Mero (United Republic of Tanzania)
World Trade Organization
11 Technical Cooperation and Capacity-Building
331. I will be brief since I am sure all delegates have already had a chance to read document IP/C/W/618 which is our annual summary of technical assistance work. It has a descriptive cover note and an annexed table of all the relevant activities that were delivered in the reporting period. I will therefore just confine myself to a few general observations about the overall trends. 332. Firstly, the focus remains on assisting Members and observer countries to understand the rights and obligations that flow from the TRIPS Agreement. With an increasing attention to the way that different Members have applied and made use of policy options under the TRIPS Agreement, it becomes driven by empirical information about policy choices, but is equally addressing a wider range of areas of policy. This is because our activities are very much based on feedback from the participants themselves, particularly the government officials that take part in our training programmes and other TA activities. A strong signal indicates that they look for understanding of how the TRIPS Agreement and the policy options within the TRIPS Agreement relate to other areas of policy. An obvious example is health, discussed already today, as well as innovation, industrial policy, regulation, competition policy and the environment, as well as related areas. We are adapting the programmes accordingly in order to respond to that feedback and evolving demand. 333. This also means that the partnerships with other organizations, while always a part of our work, becomes increasingly important. In particular, the cooperation with the WHO and WIPO in connection with IP trade and public health has been mentioned, but that is by no means an exclusive activity. I would highlight the growing and more intensifying partnerships that we have with other international organizations and other partners, industry partners, non-governmental organizations, civil society and regional organizations, forming part of a holistic approach to technical assistance and ensuring that there is a necessary breadth of expertise and experience. This responds to the practical demand that we experience from the participants in our programmes. 334. Therefore, I would conclude by mentioning with particular appreciation the contributions and the excellent partnership that we have enjoyed with a range of our partners in the multilateral sphere in recent activities. These have included UNAIDS, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNCCC, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UPOV, WHO, WIPO and WCO. The list of other partners, including regional players, civil society and private sector actors, would take much more time to go through. I would conclude simply by expressing our great appreciation for that cooperation and the way that it enriches and strengthens the TA activities. The activities remain demand-driven and focused on the practical context that our Members put to us for technical assistance. We will continue to apply TA activities in response to that demand.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
57. The Chairman recalled that, at its meeting in June 2016, the Council had agreed to hold its annual review of technical cooperation at this meeting. In preparation for this annual review, developed country Members had been once more requested to update information on their technical and financial cooperation activities relevant to the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement in time for this meeting. Other Members who also made available technical cooperation had been encouraged to share information on these activities. The Secretariat had issued on 7 July 2016 an Airgram (WTO/AIR/IP/9) reminding Members of this request. In addition, intergovernmental organizations observers to the Council as well as the WTO Secretariat had also been invited to provide information.

58. To date, the Council had received information from the following developed country Members: Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, circulated in document IP/C/W/617 and addenda. The report submitted by the European Union and individual member States, namely Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, had been made available as a room document on documents online and would also be circulated as an addendum to document IP/C/W/617. The Council had also received information on relevant technical cooperation activities from Mexico, circulated in document IP/C/W/615.

59. Updated information had been submitted by the following intergovernmental organizations: the FAO, UNCTAD, the OECD, the GCC, WHO, ARIPO, WCO and WIPO, circulated in document IP/C/W/614 and addenda. In addition, a report from UPOV had been received shortly before the meeting and would also be made available as an addendum to document IP/C/W/614. Updated information on the WTO Secretariat's own technical cooperation activities in the TRIPS area was available in document IP/C/W/618.

60. The Chairman said that these reports provided very valuable information both as regards details of specific activities, but also the broader policy considerations that were guiding capacity building activities of individual Members and Observers. Much of this resource remained largely untapped which might be due to the amount of information provided and the way in which this was done. In order to promote awareness and transparency, the Secretariat had repeatedly suggested that the information about specific activities be reported in table format. It had provided regular updates with respect to its work aimed at identifying ways of facilitating the submission, processing and circulation of information on technical assistance.

61. The representatives of Australia, Mexico, the United States and Colombia took the floor.

62. The representative of the Secretariat took the floor.

63. The representatives of ARIPO, the GCC, WHO and UNCTAD took the floor.

64. Since some of the information had been received only very recently, and most of it was available only in its original language, the Chairman said that he would provide Members an opportunity at the next meeting to make further comments on the information.

65. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.

IP/C/M/83, IP/C/M/83/Add.1