17. The Chair recalled that Article 64.3 of the TRIPS Agreement contained the initial mandate that required the submission recommendations on scope and modalities for non-violation and situation complaints to the Ministerial Conference in 1999. At the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11), Ministers had directed the Council to continue its examination of the scope and modalities for complaints of the types provided for under subparagraphs 1(b) and 1(c) of Article XXIII of 1994 and to make recommendations to the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12). It had also been agreed that, in the meantime, Members would not initiate such complaints under the TRIPS Agreement. At the General Council meeting of 26 July 2018, the Chair had also noted that the 2019 deadlines for the two moratoria on Electronic Commerce and on TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints would be maintained, notwithstanding the decision to hold MC12 in June 2020.
18. There had been some encouraging signs during recent meetings. A number of delegations had indicated their readiness to engage in a constructive discussion on scope and modalities in case nonviolation and situation complaints were to apply to TRIPS. Also, at the Council's meetings in June and November 2018, some delegations had given examples of what such modalities could look like. He noted that there were barely ten months left until the December 2019 deadline. Therefore, it was important that discussions start to focus on concrete suggestions on the recommendation that the Council should prepare for the next Ministerial Conference. As MC12 was also not far away, work to get there needed to intensify as of now.
19. The Chair said that, while the TRIPS Council was the best forum to discuss these issues, the Chair would also be available to assist delegations, including through informal consultations among interested delegations or individual discussions.
20. The representatives of South Africa, India, the United States of America, Brazil, Ecuador, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, Argentina, Chinese Taipei, Canada and China took the floor.
21. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.