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

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama)
313. Canada remains encouraged by the positive discussion and exchange of national experiences on IP and e-commerce issues under this item. On that note, Canada would like to thank Brazil for circulating its communication on "E-commerce and Copyright" (JOB/IP/19), and for sharing its own national experiences on a number of emerging copyright issues in the digital environment. Canada would also like to thank the co-sponsors of the papers on "Electronic Signatures" (JOB/IP/20) and "E-Commerce and Development" (JOB/IP/22), which serve to highlight the broad range of issues addressed by electronic commerce and digital trade. 314. As co-sponsors of our re-circulated General Council paper on "Trade Policy, the WTO and the Digital Economy" (JOB/IP/21), Canada aligns itself with the EU intervention. As expressed by the EU, we are mindful of the views expressed by a number of delegations that e-commerce discussions should be managed in a bottom-up fashion with relevant bodies taking up specific topics, and we have re-circulated our paper accordingly to stimulate substantive discussion in those bodies. Canada remains of the view that the TRIPS Council can usefully contribute to the objectives of the 1998 WTO Work Programme on Electronic Commerce, by way of sharing national experiences and practices on IP and e-commerce, with a view to informing and enriching Members' policy development. To be clear, and further to some of the interventions made by Members in recent meetings of the TRIPS Council, Canada remains of the view that sharing national experiences and practices on IP and e-commerce would be undertaken on a non-prejudicial basis and in a non-negotiating manner. Along these lines, Canada also remains mindful that discussions on issues such as copyright in the digital environment are underway in other international institutional fora elsewhere, such as the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. 315. Members will recall that the Nairobi Ministerial Decision of 19 December 2015 decided to continue the Work Programme "based on the existing mandate and guidelines and on the basis of proposals submitted by Members in the relevant WTO bodies as set out in paragraphs 2 to 5 of the Work Programme" (WT/MIN(15)/42). With respect to IP, the Work Programme tasks the TRIPS Council with "examin[ing] and report[ing] on: protection and enforcement of copyright and related rights; protection and enforcement of trademarks; [and] new technologies and access to technology". Canada's view remains that these topics remain sufficiently broad to foster discussion across a range of IP and e-commerce issues, drawing from Members' national experiences and practices in these areas. 316. Canada remains open to the views of other Members as to how discussions on e-commerce and IP might be structured, with a view to fulfilling the Ministerial guidance on this issue. We would like to thank Members once again for their constructive interventions on this issue so far, and look forward to hearing views on e-commerce and IP topics for consideration in future sessions of the TRIPS Council.
JOB/IP/19; JOB/IP/22; JOB/IP/21; WT/MIN(15)/42
The Council took note of the statements made.
69. The Chairman informed the Council that, to prepare the discussion under this item, Brazil had submitted a communication on Electronic Commerce and Copyright (document JOB/IP/19) which had been co-sponsored by Argentina. He suggested that Brazil introduce the agenda item and discuss the issues that it was proposing for consideration, and that the Council then turn to three other submissions related to the Work Programme on E-Commerce which the respective co-sponsors might wish to introduce.

70. He recalled the most recent mandate in the field of e-commerce and the state of play of the work. At MC10 in December 2015, Ministers had decided to "continue the work under the Work Programme based on the existing mandate and guidelines and on the basis of proposals submitted by Members in the relevant WTO bodies". They had also instructed the General Council to hold periodic reviews "based on the reports that may be submitted by the WTO bodies entrusted with the implementation of the Work Programme and report to the next session of the Ministerial Conference" (document WT/MIN(15)/42 – WT/L/977).

71. In June 2017, the TRIPS Council had resumed discussions on e-commerce. This discussion had been based on Canada's written submission circulated in document IP/C/W/613. Canada had shared its national experience to fight the selling of counterfeit products over the internet. At the Council's meeting in November 2016, Canada had called for a continuation of the sharing of national experiences and practices as this would support the Council to respond to the Ministerial mandate. In line with the addendum to its earlier communication (document IP/C/W/613/Add.1) Canada had also said that it wished to consult with other delegations on how to advance the Work Programme on E-Commerce in this Council. It had been joined by a number of other delegations.

72. The Chairman also referred to three other communications under this item: a communication on Electronic Signatures that had been co-sponsored by the delegations of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay (document JOB/IP/20); a communication on Trade Policy, the WTO and the Digital Economy that had been circulated at the request of the delegations of Canada; Chile; Colombia; Côte d'Ivoire; the European Union; the Republic of Korea; Mexico; Montenegro; Paraguay; Singapore and Turkey (JOB/IP/21 of 13 January 2017); and a communication on Electronic Commerce and Development, recently circulated in document JOB/IP/22 at the request of the delegations of Brunei Darussalam; Colombia; Costa Rica; Hong Kong, China; Israel; Malaysia; Mexico; Nigeria; Pakistan; Panama; Qatar; Seychelles; Singapore and Turkey.

73. The representatives of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bangladesh on behalf of the LDC Group, Switzerland, the United States, Norway, the European Union, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Canada, the Republic of Moldova, Mexico, Australia, Turkey, Colombia, the Russian Federation, Chile, the Republic of Korea, India and New Zealand took the floor.

74. The Chairman said that, in light of the discussions and the earlier exchange of views at the Council's meetings in June and November 2016, there seemed to be a continuing interest of delegations in discussing issues related to intellectual property and e-commerce. He therefore encouraged Members to consider how to carry forward issues related to e-commerce in the TRIPS Council. An in-depth debate would, indeed, constitute a sound basis for the Council to contribute to the periodic review that the General Council had been requested to hold, as well as to provide input for the General Council report to the next Ministerial Conference. Such a discussion would be an opportunity to create a clear and inclusive factual picture of the current state of affairs as the foundation for informed dialogue between Members.

75. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/85, IP/C/M/85/Add.1