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

H.E. Ambassador Lundeg Purevsuren
279.   The delegation of Bangladesh welcomes the annual reports on the implementation of the provisions of TRIPS Article 66.2 submitted by the developed country Members. However, these regular review reports do not clearly give information on incentives provided to enterprises and institutions in developed country Members. Instead, these notifications contain lists of mostly technical assistance programmes and projects aimed at enhancing capacities in the LDCs. No doubt, these programmes are very helpful for the LDCs and we are grateful to the developed country Members. However, these reports generally fulfil the requirements narrated under TRIPS Article 67 on technical cooperation and, consequently, do not satisfy the obligation of TRIPS Article 66.2. 280.   The reports presented in the TRIPS Council are undoubtedly a mixture of the technical assistance programmes and a few technology transfer initiatives. Some of them have listed initiatives like building sea-wall for protection from land erosion, construction of weather forecasting system, research-grant for governance problem in the health sector, humanitarian assistance to refugees, communication training to forest rangers, skill development for young entrepreneurs and so on as technology transfer. Great amalgam indeed but not useful for the purpose! 281.   Bangladesh acknowledges that, to create a sound technological base in the LDCs, we need support from the development partners. TRIPS Article 66.2 in the legal text point-blank directs us that, "developed country Members shall provide incentives to enterprises and institutions in their territories 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". The use of the modal verb "shall" denotes an obligatory requirement. TRIPS Article 66.2 states that the developed country Members are required to provide incentives to enterprises and institutions in their territories. The responsibility to provide incentives clearly falls on the developed country Members and not on the private sector entities and enterprises. On the scope of implementation of this Article, this is evident that primarily the LDCs are not in the scene in the first phase. LDCs will come in the canvas in the next step when the enterprises and institutions in developed country Members will take further steps towards their contribution in transferring technology to the LDCs. 282.   We request the Members in the Council to consider designating focal points from both the developed country and least-developed country Members to monitor the implementation status of TRIPS Article 66.2. Previously the proposal was tabled on behalf of the LDCs. And the Members candidly discussed the issue at a number of previous meetings of this Council. This has also been recommended in the WTO Workshop on Implementation of TRIPS Article 66.2 in February 2019. Now, we need to carry forward the monitoring issue to acknowledge the genuine contributions that the developed country Members have provided to the LDCs. 283.   Bangladesh stands ready to engage in constructive discussion on the focal point and monitoring issue of TRIPS Article 66.2.
45.   The Chair recalled that, as provided by a TRIPS Council Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 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.
46.   In June 2019, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit the first set of updates to the sixth set of reports in time for the October meeting, and the Secretariat had since circulated a reminder. The Council had received updated reports from the United States, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, Canada and Norway. The documents were being circulated (IP/C/W/656 and addenda). In addition, the Council had received an Advance Working Copy of the report from the European Union and some of its member States. It had been made available as a room document (RD/IP/34) on documents online; and, would also be circulated as an addendum to document IP/C/W/656, once finalised.
47.   Paragraph 2 of the Council's Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 explained that the annual review should 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 to consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision.
48.   Some of the information by developed country Members has been received only very recently, and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language. Therefore, Members would have an opportunity to make further comments at the next meeting of the Council. This would give Members a chance to study the information recently circulated and any additional information subsequently received.
49.   For the same reasons it had been decided to once again hold the Article 66.2 Workshop in February 2020, back-to-back with the TRIPS Council’s next meeting. The dates of the workshop would be 4-6 February 2020. This would give LDC delegations sufficient time to absorb the information provided by developed-country delegations in their reports and also to ensure that these reports were available in the official languages of the WTO. The Workshop would comprise two days of sessions on 4-5 February 2020, and a reporting and review segment within the formal meeting of the TRIPS Council on 6 February 2020. The Chair invited delegations from developed-country Members to introduce their reports.
50.   The representatives of Canada; the United States of America; the European Union; Japan; Australia; Switzerland; Norway; and Bangladesh took the floor.
51.   The Chair suggested that Members be given an opportunity to continue considering the information provided at the next meeting.
52.   The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/93, IP/C/M/93/Add.1