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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Walter Werner
332.   We would like to thank again Cambodia and the LDC Group for its communication in IP/C/W/640, circulated prior to the first Council this year. We take note of the background information and the proposal for the TRIPS Council to deliberate and make some decision in favour of LDCs. We also had a first look at the paper with some ideas about incentives and will need to study this in more detail. 333.   Switzerland acknowledges that the implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement poses a number of challenges. Over past years, this has also lead us to re-analyse our commitments under the said article and our yearly reporting following the TRIPS Council decisions in 2001 and 2003. 334.   The issues raised in the LDC Group's paper are not new, and some of them have been discussed before, also on the occasion of the yearly workshops organised by the Secretariat the day before the third TRIPS Council every year. The discussions held in the workshop format between LDCs and developed country Members, including the Q&A exercise, resulted in a number of modifications and improvements of developed countries' reports under Article 66.2 over the years. 335.   Responding to the proposals made in document IP/C/W/640, Switzerland does not think that it would be useful, or possible, to restrict the measures and the reporting to incentives for technology transfers which are exclusively directed at least developed countries. There are a number of significant governmental incentives and programmes for enterprises and institutions which are for the benefit of a group of countries or a whole region, which may cover both least developed countries as well as middle-income countries. 336.   We do not think that such incentives and programmes should be left out of the reporting. This is probably a particular concern of smaller countries like Switzerland which do not have the capacity to engage in each and every LDC and middle-income country. For example, a number of technical assistance programmes are organised as global programmes. Tracking of funds to individual countries can be difficult in those cases. 337.   It does not seem appropriate to exclude all such incentives or programmes solely because they are directed at enabling technology transfer to both specific LDCs and middle-income countries. They need to be taken into account also and should be duly reflected in the reports. 338.   We agree with the LDC Group that the reports should whenever possible specify the LDCs targeted by incentives and programmes, i.e. specify the beneficiaries of technology transfers enabled by specific incentives. 339.   As for the LDC Group's request to deliberate on the meaning of "incentives to enterprises and institutions", set out in document IP/C/W/640, we also have some reservation. Switzerland believes that the intention of the Member states when drafting Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement was to keep the mandate rather broad and not to exclude specific incentives or entities from the mandate. 340.   We are looking forward to continuing this dialogue also in the workshop prior to the next Council. There, specific concerns relating to incentives can be further discussed.
39.   The Chair said that the Central African Republic, on behalf of the LDC Group, had requested the inclusion of the agenda item "LDC Group Proposal on the Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement". Reference had been made to an earlier communication from the LDC Group, on the same topic, that had already been introduced at the Council's last meeting (circulated in document IP/C/W/640). As requested by Bangladesh on behalf of the LDC Group, he had also facilitated an informal meeting between representatives from the LDC Group and developed country Members, which had taken place the previous week. Those initial discussions of the LDC Group Proposal had focused on the incentives needed to encourage companies to transfer technologies to LDCs and on the reporting mechanism. They had been very constructive.
40.   As follow up to that initial discussion, the LDC Group had also made available an illustrative list of incentives for consideration by Members. Printed copies of the room document RD/IP/24 had been made available for delegations in French and English.
41.   The representatives of Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group; Bangladesh; the United States; India; Norway; New Zealand; the European Union; Canada; Australia; Switzerland; Japan; Brazil; and Nepal took the floor.
42.   The Chair said that he would continue to facilitate consultations amongst Members to find possible solutions.
43.   Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/89, IP/C/M/89/Add.1