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

H.E. Ambassador Dr. Walter Werner

208.   As part of its ongoing commitments under Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, Canada is pleased to report on its work in providing incentives to enterprises and institutions for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least developed country Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base. 209.   Canada's 2018 report on the implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement (document IP/C/W/646/Add.4) provides a comprehensive update on the range of projects and initiatives undertaken by Canada in recent years. Before discussing some of the more noteworthy projects included in this year's report, it is noted that Canada's report on Article 66.2 TRIPS focuses primarily on non-market projects, as financed by Canadian departments, agencies, and institutions, through official development assistance (ODA), grants, and other concessional financing. For instance, the development branch of Global Affairs Canada provides financial incentives in partnership with Canadian educational and research institutions in key development areas like agriculture and food security, public health, sustainable development, as well as business development and capacity-building for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 210.   For instance, as part of the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund – Phase II, Global Affairs Canada has allocated CAD 50.5 million (or approximately USD 38.37 million) over five years, to multiple countries, including Benin, Ethiopia, Nepal, Tanzania, and Uganda, towards the development of more productive, sustainable, and gender-sensitive agricultural techniques for women subsistence farmers. Project activities under this initiative include developing farming methods that can better withstand the effects of climate change, as well as reducing post-harvest losses through adaptable and affordable technologies. 211.   As well, under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), Global Affairs Canada and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) research in agricultural innovation and fosters collaboration between Canadian experts and partner countries. Notable projects under the CIFSRF include Scaling Up Improved Legume Technologies in Tanzania, which aims to make legume technologies accessible to 100,000 small-scale farmers across Tanzania, including through farm-level trials and farmer-to-farmer demonstrations. Another notable project, Enhanced Preservation of Fruits Using Nanotechnology, will extend and optimize the use of postharvest applications, including through improved packaging systems for transporting fruit in multiple countries, including Tanzania. 212.   In 2017, Global Affairs Canada also launched Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy, which supports targeted investments, partnerships, innovation and advocacy efforts to close gender gaps and improve everyone's chance for success. Canada's feminist international assistance will help protect and promote the human rights of all vulnerable and marginalized groups and increase their participation in equal decision making, and will help women and girls achieve more equitable access to and control over the resources they need to secure ongoing economic and social equality. Notable examples of technology transfer-focused project in this area include Improving Market Opportunities for Women Producers, which supports access to credit, inputs, market linkages, and new technologies for women in Myanmar, for instance, by providing matching grants to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for technology upgrades, as well as designing new and improved financial products for women producers in partnership with financial institutions. 213.   Global Affairs Canada also supports programmes that encourage technology transfer and related technical assistance in the area of information and communications technology (ICT) Global Affairs Canada provides support for a number of ICT-related projects, such as Entrepreneurship and Business Growth for Youth, which uses ICTs to provide business development services and capacity-building to deliver entrepreneurship programmes for youth in Ethiopia. As of March 2018, 40,398 youths (60% of which were young women) have completed training through this initiative. 214.   Multilaterally, Canada continues to actively contribute to several international institutions which, in turn, provide incentives for technology transfer to LDCs. On environment and climate change, for instance, Global Affairs Canada works with the World Bank on a number of technology transfer-related investment funds and initiatives, including the Clean Technology Fund. Global Affairs Canada has allocated CAD 200 million (or approximately USD 152 million) in financing to support the use of clean, low-carbon technologies, as well as investment in energy efficiency in the power and transport sectors, in multiple countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. As well, though financial support to the Global Environmental Facility, Canada supports the accelerated adoption of innovative technologies and management practices in areas such climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, and sustainable forest management. 215.   Canada would be pleased to provide further information on these and other technology transfer projects and programmes, upon request. Canada also invites interested delegations to consult Global Affairs Canada's searchable "International Development Project Browser" for further information on these and other initiatives. 216.   Canada also looks forward to the upcoming workshop on the implementation of Article 66.2 TRIPS, to be held on the margins of the next TRIPS Council meeting in February 2019, and to exchanging further information and views on Canada's annual 66.2 report in that regard. Canada would also be interested in hearing more about some of the priorities and best practices that LDCs might identify in the incentives for technology transfer under Article 66.2 TRIPS obligation, including notable examples that Members might identify from developed country Members' annual reports. 217.   We also take note of the recent TRIPS Council discussions on Article 66.2 TRIPS, including the LDC proposal document IP/C/W/640. Canada remains of the view that the workshop provides a useful venue to draw commonalities and best practices from developed country Members' annual reports, with a view to better informing Members of how future incentives and projects in the area of technology transfer might best respond to LDCs' evolving priorities and needs. The workshop also provides a useful opportunity for further practical and evidence-based discussion on these issues. Canada is open to discussion with any interested Members on how the workshop can be enhanced in this regard, and to discussing with any interested Members intersessionally in advance of the February 2019 session.

The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
37.   The Chair recalled that under the TRIPS Council decision of February 2003, developed country Members were to submit annual reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2. They were to provide new detailed reports every third year and updates in the intervening years. In June 2018, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit the sixth set of new reports in time for the present meeting, and the Secretariat had since circulated a reminder.
38.   The Council had received new detailed reports from the United States of America, Switzerland, Australia, Japan and Canada. Since the circulation of the revised agenda, Norway had also submitted its new report. This documentation had been circulated in document IP/C/W/646 and addenda. In addition, shortly before the meeting, the Council had received the reports from New Zealand, as well as from the European Union and some of its member States, namely Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Advance copies of both reports had been made available as room documents on documents online and would also be circulated as addenda to document IP/C/W/646.
39.   Paragraph 2 of the Council's Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 explained that the annual review was to provide Members with an opportunity to pose questions in relation to the information submitted and request additional information; discuss the effectiveness of the incentives provided in promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least developed country Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base; and consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision.
40.   Some of the information by developed country Members had been received only very recently, and most of it is, so far, available only in its original language. Members would have an opportunity to make further comments at the next meeting of the Council. This would allow Members to study the information recently circulated and any additional information subsequently received. For the same reasons, the Article 66.2 Workshop that would had been held before that meeting had been postponed. The plan was to convene the Workshop on 11-12 February 2019, backto-back with the Council's next meeting in February 2019.
41.   The Chair informed Members that, the day before, there had been an informal small group meeting and ideas had been exchanged with regard to the organization of the forthcoming Article 66.2 Workshop.
42.   The representatives of the European Union; Canada; Japan; Australia; the United States of America; Norway; the Central African Republic, on behalf of the LDC Group; and Cambodia took the floor.
43.   The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/90, IP/C/M/90/Add.1