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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Walter Werner
357.   Thank you to all Members who have intervened on this matter. The implementation of Article 66.2 has been under discussion for the last twenty years and progress was made regarding the implementation of Article 66.2. Every year we have the annual review, we pose two questions: please inform us about the incentives you are providing to enterprises and institutions. We then find out whether these are LDC-specific or not. Every time, we are asked to submit written questions, and we are used to getting these answered in the next annual review, and we have seen that the answers are similar. That is why we have come with our proposal, to better understand what do we mean by the incentive to the enterprises and institutions in the territories of developed countries, that is, to the spirit and the letter of Article 66.2. 358.   As we mentioned earlier, all these technological projects and programmes reported under the Article 66.2 Annual Review are very useful to create a viable technological base - we are not trying to limit the submission - but we want to actually focus on Article 66.2. Our understanding is that several elements are present in technical innovation, that is scientific knowledge, physical objects, production know-how, training, etc. We understand that there are several means by which we can transfer technology and you are focusing on these technical assistance projects which are very important, but Article 66.2 specifies one type of means, that is the incentive to the institution or enterprise in your territory, so that is what we want to address. 359.   I understand that whatever the legal interpretation, it is said that this incentive should be specific to LDCs and that is why we have made this proposal in paragraph 3. The drafter of the TRIPS Agreement in the Uruguay Round promoted this Article in such a way that it should be directed towards LDCs and it should be the incentive to the enterprise and institution in develop country territories, that is the way it was drafted. From our understanding we thought that that should be reported, but we never ignored that technical assistance projects which have been chosen do impact on creating a technological base in our countries. We don't want to limit that one, but wish to focus on incentives. We have tried our best to identify from the reports which projects could constitute incentives to the enterprise. Every report is long, as the Secretariat has already mentioned, it has already become 5,000 pages of annual reports. We tried to identify which could constitute the incentive within the meaning of Article 66.2. If you look at our proposal, we have tried to bring some elements from those reports which we thought are incentives, that is what Article 66.2 is looking for. That is why we thought it could be useful to discuss here the illustrative list. We don't want to restrict the list with these elements, but it is our thought that through discussion we can actually modify that one or this one. We put our thoughts in our room document, and we want to discuss that one and how develop countries want to implement it. We have an illustrative list which could support implementation and that is why actually we wanted to have a useful discussion to have an idea which we could consider that would be in line with Article 66.2. 360.   What we can request to the Members is that they let us have a discussion on the list and how we could actually implement Article 66.2 in letter and spirit. But again I want to emphasize that we always allow the technical assistance projects, all these projects which are directed towards creating a viable technological base in our country. But let me say something about Article 66.1 and Article 66.2, their linkage. Article 66.1 says that LDCs should have a different period, until they develop their viable technological base. Article 66.2 then says that we need to do something so that LDCs can create a viable technological base, so this is the link. It is important that we create a viable technological base through the implementation of Article 66.2 and other technical assistance projects you referred to in your reports of the Annual review of Article 66.2.
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