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

H.E. Ambassador Lundeg Purevsuren
163.   On this item, the delegation of Bangladesh echoes with the statement made by Chad on behalf of the LDCs Group. 164.   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. My delegation also thanks the Secretariat, particularly the great team of the IP Division, for organizing the twoday workshop on the implementation of TRIPS Article 66.2 on 4 and 5 February 2020. Like last year, this is a successful event attended by the capital-based and Geneva-based delegates from both the LDCs and the developed country Members. We are also grateful to the organizers for inviting the representatives of different Divisions of the WTO and WIPO, ARIPO, OPAI, OECD and the UN Technology Bank for the LDCs and they have brought valuable perspectives based on their institutional experience and cutting-edge research. Many of the capital-based delegates from the LDCs and the developed countries are attending the TRIPS Council meeting today. We thank them for their contributions in the Workshop through sharing their cases by candid and thoughtprovoking discussions and suggestions. 165.   The common priority sectors for technology transfer in the LDCs, as identified by most of the participants, are agriculture and food, public health, ICT, energy, water management, sustainable environment, and infrastructures to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change. This priority list will help the needs-assessment for the future schemes by the developed country Members for technology transfer initiatives to the LDCs. The workshop participants have also requested the Secretariat to continue organizing this workshop regularly, in presence of the experts from the LDCs and the developed countries. The delegation of Bangladesh fully endorses their call. 166.   Participants from the LDCs have deeply appreciated the assistance received from the developed country Members. However, they have also identified that many reports do not clearly give information on incentives provided to enterprises and institutions in the territory of the developed Members. Instead, these reports contain a mixture of the technical assistance programmes under Article 67 and a few technology transfer initiatives under Article 66.2. Some reports have listed initiatives like building sea-walls for protection from land erosion, construction of weather forecasting systems, research-grants for governance problems in the health sector, humanitarian assistance to refugees, communication training to forest rangers, skill development for young entrepreneurs and so on as 'technology transfer'. The mixture is not useful for the purpose of reporting under Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. 167.   Bangladesh acknowledges that, to create a sound technological base in the LDCs, the LDCs need support from the developed country Members. TRIPS Article 66.2 in the legal text states point-blank 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. 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, it is evident that 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 countries will take further steps towards their contribution in transferring technology to the LDCs. 168.   The LDCs 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 and also in the same workshop yesterday (5 February 2020). We should think of an effective monitoring mechanism to acknowledge the genuine contributions that the developed country Members have provided to the LDCs. 169.   Today the LDC Group has presented a room document (RD/IP/37) that has proposed a new template of annual reporting on technology transfer to LDCs as stipulated in Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. Although marked as new, the proposed template does not demand any new information. It has only rearranged the issues from the previously tabled three specific submissions to the Council for TRIPS (document IP/C/W/561 dated 6 October 2011, IP/C/W/640 dated 16 February 2018, and RD/IP/24 dated 14 June 2018) with a view to bringing harmony in the annual reporting. Following the guidelines stated in these documents, some developed country Members regularly report their contributions under Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. However, the LDC Group understands that various 'not-so-specific' templates have been utilized for this exercise by many developed country Members. 170.   Considering the clear call of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, and to supplement RD/IP/24, the LDC Group has done further work and proposes today a specific template for annual reporting. The LDC Group believes that the proposed template will help simplify reporting process, synchronize the current reporting variations and acknowledge the substantive contributions of the developed country Members with evidence and precision. 171.   Bangladesh stands ready to engage in constructive discussion to further improve the proposed reporting template.
The Council took note of the statements made.
25.   The Chair recalled that, at its meeting in October 2019, the Council had had on its agenda the 17th Annual Review under Paragraph 2 of the Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. At that meeting, delegations had briefly presented the updated reports submitted by developed country Members under Article 66.2. Since that meeting New Zealand had submitted its updated report. All updated reports had been circulated under IP/C/W/656 and addenda. At that meeting, the Council had also agreed that it would revert to the item at the present meeting to permit continued consideration of the submitted material.
26.   In order to give LDC Members more time to absorb the information provided by developed countries in their reports, and to ensure that these reports were available in the official languages of the WTO, the Article 66.2 Workshop had once again taken place back-to-back with the TRIPS Council meeting. This had allowed some of the capital-based delegates who had participated in the Workshop, to participate in the meeting and take part in the discussions under this agenda item.
27.   The LDC Group has circulated a Room document entitled, "Proposed New Template of annual Reporting on Technology Transfer to LDCs". This room document RD/IP/37 was available online on documents for meetings, and as a paper copy at the back of the meeting room. He noted that the English and French texts were both contained in the same document. He invited the Secretariat to report on the Workshop.
28.   A representative of the Secretariat took the floor.
29.   The Chair invited delegations to comment on the materials submitted for the last meeting, as well as to share their experiences from the Article 66.2 Workshop held in the past two days.
30.   The representatives of Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group; Bangladesh; the United Kingdom; Switzerland; the United States of America; Canada; the European Union; Japan; Norway; Vanuatu; Australia; and the African Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) took the floor.
31.   The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/94, IP/C/M/94/Add.1