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

H.E. Ambassador Lundeg Purevsuren
648.   China appreciates the efforts made by South Africa in submitting the document. 649.   The TRIPS Agreement came into force in 1995, which established a comprehensive international intellectual property protection system and set minimum standards for intellectual property protection for all Members. Compared to other international intellectual property agreements negotiated before, the TRIPS Agreement has broader IP protection scope, better implementation mechanism and more extensive protection standards. 650.   Strengthening intellectual property protection does not necessarily lead to the improvement of economic efficiency and the increase of social interests. The negotiators of the TRIPS Agreement recognize this point, so Articles 7 and 8 of the TRIPS Agreement clearly stipulate that "the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights should contribute to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare; Member may, in formulating or amending their laws and regulations, adopt measures necessary to protect public health and nutrition, and to promote the public interest in sectors of vital importance to their socio-economic and technological development" and relevant Articles like Articles 6 and 31 are recognized by Members as TRIPS flexibilities. The TRIPS flexibilities are considered by Members to be an important right to safeguard their public interest. 651.   At the 2001 Doha Ministerial Meeting, ministers adopted the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health; they reaffirmed the right of WTO Members to use, to the full, the provisions in the TRIPS Agreement, which provide flexibility for this purpose. 652.   China emphasizes the importance of intellectual property protection and commits to fully comply with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement since accession to the WTO. And as many other developing Members, China attaches great importance to intellectual property and the public interest, and it was one of the first Members to accept the Protocol Amending the TRIPS Agreement. 653.   At the domestic level, the compulsory licensing system is specifically stipulated in the Patent Law of China. In the event of a state emergency or very urgent situation, or for the public interest, the patent administration under the State Council may grant compulsory licenses for the implementation of inventions or utility models. In addition, the Patent Law also permits parallel imports and the Bolar exception. 654.   Actually, as of now, China has not issued any compulsory license. We provide the medicines at reasonable prices mainly in two ways. First, we include some expensive patented drugs in the medical insurance catalogue through government procurement. Second, we set up a platform to help drug purchasers in different regions to buy medicines together at the same time. By those ways, pharmaceutical companies reduce the price of drugs through the increase in sales volume and profits. And government can effectively ensure the availability of medicines, and maintain public health. 655.   China believes the protection of intellectual property rights should contribute to the mutual advantage of producers and users and to a balance of innovation and the public interest. When a public health problem occurs, Members should have the right to use the TRIPS flexibilities to protect their public interest. China also hopes to hear from other Members' experience in using TRIPS flexibilities to safeguard the availability of medicines.
The Council took note of the statements made.
68.   The Chair noted that the item had been put on the agenda at the request of South Africa. A communication on this topic had been circulated in document IP/C/W/659. It included questions to guide the discussion. He invited South Africa to introduce the item.
69.   The representatives of South Africa; India; the European Union; China; Chinese Taipei; Brazil; Switzerland; Japan; the United States of America; and the WHO took the floor.
70.   The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/93, IP/C/M/93/Add.1