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

Ms Irene Young (Hong Kong, China)
World Trade Organization
253. The WTO Secretariat's annual report (document IP/C/W/634) follows the format that we recommend for reporting under this item, as it has proved to be most useful in working with what is a large amount of detailed information. It consists of an explanatory cover note highlighting the key trends in our technical assistance, and then a table which is easily translated into a database giving details of these specific programmes. 254. To briefly outline the main trends we have observed, I would first like to mention the entry into force of the amendment to the TRIPS Agreement in January 2017. This has meant that, while our technical assistance in this area will continue to focus on assisting Members and observers to understand their rights and obligations under the Agreement, there has been an increasing focus on the implementation of the TRIPS amendment at the domestic level and fostering the utilization of the system as an effective procurement tool to ensure access to affordable medicines. We are looking forward to a regional workshop later this year that will focus exactly on that practical aspect of the amended TRIPS Agreement. 255. Our technical assistance programme is driven by the demand experienced from developing country and LDC Members. We would remind delegates to get in touch with us concerning any general or specific areas of technical assistance that they might require so that we can respond appropriately within available resources. In view of the evolving demand, our approach is increasingly holistic in character, recognizing the interplay between the TRIPS Agreement and other elements of the WTO System, including agreements on agriculture, TBT and SPS. Therefore, our technical assistance entails ever closer collaboration between various divisions within the Secretariat. It also involves a close collaboration in planning and programme delivery with our collaborating agencies in the multilateral system. Obviously, WIPO is a regular partner and the WHO in the area of public health. Partners also include a wide range of other organizations in the public health area, such as UNCTAD, UNDP, UNAIDS and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as a wide range of civil society and industry organizations to ensure that there is a holistic and coherent view of the interplay between the TRIPS Agreement and public health. A similar approach is taken in other areas of public policy in line with the demand we have experienced. 256. Responding to a consistent demand and feedback from our colloquiums and advanced courses, we are organizing in December a specialized programme on the TRIPS Agreement and the national judiciary. This will aim to enhance the capacity of the judiciary on the policy and practice of disputes and other litigation on IP matters, particularly those elements distinct to the TRIPS Agreement. Nominations for this activity close on 30 October, and we have space for 30 nominees from developing and LDC countries. We would encourage delegates to coordinate as appropriate to identify suitable candidates for that programme. I would say that we are very encouraged by the response of senior and very authoritative members of judiciary who have agreed to act as speakers and resource persons for that activity, so it will be well worthwhile for those participants involved. 257. In addition, I would like to draw your attention to the forthcoming trilateral symposium, a series which has been a mainstay of our technical assistance in the area of the TRIPS Agreement and public health. This is the seventh such event convened by the WHO, WIPO and WTO. Typically undertaken initially at the level of Directors-General, this is planned to be held on 26 February 2018 back-to-back with the tentative dates for the first meeting of the Council next year. The three Directors-General are to attend, and the symposium will look into access to affordable quality medicines and vaccines for all to ensure progress towards universal health coverage and the achievement of the SDGs. This activity is very much in line with the broad trends and developments in our technical assistance activities that I have just outlined. 258. As ever, we are on hand to respond to specific or general requests from Members so that we can continue to adapt and deliver technical assistance in a way that meets their priorities and needs.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
49. The Chairperson recalled that, at its meeting in June, the Council had agreed to hold the annual review of technical cooperation at the present meeting. Developed country Members had been requested to update information on their technical and financial cooperation activities relevant to the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. Other Members who also provided technical cooperation were encouraged to share information on these activities. The Secretariat had issued an airgram, on 4 July 2017, reminding Members of this request. Intergovernmental organizations, which were observers to the Council, and the WTO Secretariat had also been invited to provide information.

50. The Council had received information from: Japan, Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway (IP/C/W/632 and its addenda). The report from the European Union and some of its individual member States and agencies, namely Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the Community Plant Variety Office had been received shortly before the meeting and was being circulated as an addendum to document IP/C/W/632.

51. The following intergovernmental organizations had also submitted updated information: the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), and the World Customs Organization (WCO) (IP/C/W/633 and addenda). Updated information on the WTO Secretariat's own technical cooperation activities in the TRIPS area was available in document IP/C/W/634.

52. The Chairperson said that, since some of the information had been received only very recently, and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language, she intended to provide Members a further opportunity to comment on the information at the Council's next meeting.

53. The representatives of Australia; the United States; Norway; the European Union; Canada; Japan; New Zealand, the WTO Secretariat, ARIPO, the GCC, the WHO, UNCTAD, India, Brazil, and China took the floor.

54. The Chairperson said that the reports by Members and IGO observers provided valuable information about specific activities, as well as the broader policy considerations that were guiding capacity building activities of individual Members and Observers. She encouraged Members to make good use of this resource.

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

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