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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
342.   We thank Members that have submitted their reports. As we indicated in the last TRIPS Council meeting, developed country Members are required to submit information as a matter of legal obligation, the wording TRIPS Article 66.2 is quite unequivocal, 'developed country Members shall provide…' The good faith principle also requires that when such information is provided, that information should be relevant and comprehensive enough in order to assess whether the legal obligation is met. We note from a working paper of the WTO some historical factual data regarding the nature of information that was provided by developed country Members from 2000 onwards. It is pointed out that at the request of the TRIPS Council, the WTO Secretariat made a summary of the first round of submissions. This summary noted that "It was not possible to distinguish between developing countries generally and least developed countries in most of the information submitted." (page 8). This problem seems not to have been addressed in any concrete way, even in light of the Council's Decision on Implementation of TRIPS Article 66.2 (document IP/C/28). 343.   In 2011, LDC Members in document IP/C/W/561 proposed a different format for reporting. This has been taken up by many Members but not in a uniform way. In their recent submission, the LDC Group asked for another simplification of template to be adopted with an appendix that will enable a more accurate reflection of the recipients of incentives. As indicated in that meeting, South Africa supported the premise of the paper as well as the call to clarify fundamental concepts - such as "transfer of technology" or "incentives" used in the text of TRIPS Article 66.2. Clarifying these matters will help us understand if Members are actually doing what they had undertaken to do. Some of these issues can be taken up in the workshop on TRIPS Article 66.2 which the Secretariat is planning as well bilaterally on the basis of the LDC Group's proposed template. 344.   We would be interested to know whether or not further discussions could be held to incorporate some of the newest ideas that the LDCs have put on the table.
54. The Chair recalled that, under a Council decision 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 of the TRIPS Agreement. They were to provide new detailed reports every third year and updates in the intervening years.
55. In July 2020, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit the second set of updates to the sixth set of new reports in time for the present meeting, and the Secretariat had also circulated a reminder.
56. The LDC Group had also submitted a proposal of a template for the submission of reports on commitments of developed countries under Article 66.2. In her consultations in September 2020, the LDC Group had indicated that they were reaching out to developed countries in this regard.
57. The Council had received updated reports from the United States, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Since the circulation of the revised agenda, the Council had received further reports from the European Union and Canada. The documents were being circulated under the new dedicated document series with the symbol IP/C/R/TTI/[Member]/1 – where "R" stood for "Reports" and "TTI" stood for "Technology Transfer Incentives".
58. 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 consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision.
59. Some of the information by developed country Members had been received only very recently, and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language. She intended to give Members an opportunity to make further comments at the next meeting of the Council to give Members a chance to study the recently circulated information and any additional information subsequently submitted.
60. The Secretariat was planning to hold the Article 66.2 Workshop in early 2020. Considering the current situation, the dates had not yet been fixed and would be announced as soon as they are finalized. This would give LDC Members enough time to consider the information provided by developed country Members in their reports and to ensure that these reports are available in the official languages of the WTO. It would also be an opportunity to discuss the proposal of the template for reporting on commitments, presented by the LDC Group. The Workshop would comprise two days of sessions, and a reporting and review segment within the first TRIPS Council meeting of 2021. She invited developed country Members to introduce their reports.
61. The representatives of the United Kingdom; Australia; South Africa; Japan; Switzerland; Bangladesh; Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group; Canada; Indonesia; the United States of America; Australia; and the European Union took the floor.
62. The Chair proposed that Members be given an opportunity to continue considering the information provided at the next meeting.
63. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/96, IP/C/M/96/Add.1