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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
213.   We align ourselves with the information provided by the delegation of Tanzania on behalf of the African Group and wish to add a brief comment regarding this agenda item. 214.   My delegation wishes to thank the Chair and the Secretariat for their continued work in trying to work out the modalities for the applicability of non-violation and situation complaints as mandated by the General Council, and we also welcome the extension of the moratorium on NVCs on 10 December 2019, however, we note that this is not a permanent solution. My delegation reiterates that in the absence of any agreeable modalities as of yet, our position remains that non-violation and situation complaints under Article XXIII subparagraph 1(b) and 1(c) GATT should not be allowed to apply under the TRIPS Agreement, as this may result in preventing our policy makers from effectively utilizing the flexibilities available in the TRIPS Agreement. Specifically, this may restrict our power to make regulations and policies for public health with the aim to increase access to medicines. 215.   In terms of a possible way forward, we propose that the TRIPS Council recommend to the upcoming Ministerial Conference that non-violation and situation complaints should not be allowed to apply under the TRIPS Agreement. We believe that it is time for all Members to suggest concrete direction on this issue going forward. However, we are happy to engage with the Chair and other Members to find an amicable solution on this issue. We continue to thank you, Chair, and the Secretariat for their continued work.
The Council so took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matters at its next meeting.
26.   The Chair recalled the General Council decision of 10 December 2019, in which Members had decided to extend the Moratorium on TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints until the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12). In line with the original mandate, that decision had instructed the TRIPS Council to "continue its examination of the scope and modalities" for such complaints "and make recommendations to the 12th Ministerial Conference."
27.   In the discussions that had taken place in December 2019, many delegations had emphasized the need for a more detailed discussion on TRIPS non-violation, so that Ministers could take a wellinformed decision on scope and modalities at MC12. Most delegations had also said that they were open to engage constructively and discuss concrete proposals for scope and modalities.
28.   Against the background of the postponement of MC12, she was hopeful that Members were willing to use the additional time available to return to a substantive discussion of the issues. She had gone over the state of discussions in her preparations for the present meeting and her impression was that a number of shared understandings regarding TRIPS non-violation could in fact be harvested from the past discussions. This might enable the Council to focus its engagement on formulating the areas of disagreement; and, thus make at least some progress in framing the questions for ministers at MC12.
29.   Some delegations had indicated their willingness to make submissions in this regard to provide a basis for constructive discussions. She encouraged those delegations to do that soon, in order to make best use of the time available. The existing positions were very well known and very clearly on the record, so there was no need to reiterate them. She invited Members to share their views on how to approach TRIPS non-violation discussions between the present meeting and MC12.
30.   The representatives of Brazil; Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group; Bangladesh; Nigeria; India; Thailand; China; Argentina; Chile; Zimbabwe; Switzerland; Canada; the United States of America; Indonesia; the European Union; and, Jamaica, on behalf of the ACP Group took the floor. The representatives of Kenya and South Africa requested that their respective statements be included in the record of the meeting.
31.   The Council so took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matters at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/95, IP/C/M/95/Add.1