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

Ms Irene Young (Hong Kong, China)
Bolivia, Plurinational State of
37. The possibility of patenting plants, micro-organisms and animals poses a series of issues for my country at different levels: ethical, cultural, economic and others. There are many who consider that life is something sacred which should not be dealt with as a simple commercial object and that patents should not be allowed on life forms or parts of them. In commercial and trade terms, the adoption of Article 27.3(b) not only encouraged biopiracy, but it also promoted misappropriation of genetic resources with severe and negative impacts for many of our countries. We consider that a multilateral agreement is necessary. 38. We are also up-to-date with the situation of the renewal of the mandate on the IGC on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions at WIPO, which will continue its work for two years or more. This topic has been discussed at WIPO for more than seventeen years without success. We hope that this time efforts will produce positive results. However, for us the best forum to gain an agreement on this issue is the WTO. We await the outcomes of the work at WIPO to see what action we can then carry forward in this Organization in order to avoid biopiracy. 39. To conclude, I would like to reiterate that Bolivia also supports the proposal relating to the disclosure of the source of origin, which is in line with Bolivia's proposal to avoid patentability of lifeforms or parts of them including genetic resources. We support the proposal of China, South Africa, Brazil and Ecuador for the WTO Secretariat to update the factual notes on this topic. And we hope that the communications from Bolivia from 2010 in IP/C/W/545 and in 2011 IP/C/W/554 will be taken into account.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matters at its next meeting.
15. The Chairperson said that, as foreshadowed at the Council's meeting in June, she had consulted Members to see if solutions could be found to some procedural issues, which had been discussed at that meeting. While those discussions had helped clarify certain issues, she was still not in a position to report any new development in delegations' positions.

16. Regarding agenda item 3, she noted that the Council had not been provided information on important developments that many WTO Members had seen in this area over the last decade. In particular, there had been no responses or updates, since 2003, to the Illustrative List of Questions on Article 27.3(b) (IP/C/W/122), and only 25 Members had responded at all. Likewise, there had been no notifications of domestic mechanisms to protect genetic resources and traditional knowledge. She encouraged Members to submit responses to the Checklist or update their respective previous responses, and notify any relevant changes in their legislation.

17. The representatives of China; South Africa; Ecuador; Brazil; the Plurinational State of Bolivia; Haiti on behalf of the LDC Group; the United States; Japan; the European Union; Canada; Australia; Switzerland; India; and the Republic of Korea took the floor.

18. The Chairperson encouraged Members to have further discussions to resolve the outstanding issues, and said that she stood ready to assist.

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

IP/C/M/87, IP/C/M/87/Add.1