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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter (South Africa)

358.   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. The reports provide the reporting Members' generous efforts to help create sound and viable technological base in LDCs. 359.   If examined carefully, some of the reports presented in this TRIPS Council have listed initiatives like organizational reform of revenue authority, financial support to construction of an academic building, supply of metal silos and hermetic bags, and different training initiatives including financial management, trade capacity, human resource management, global value chain, land management, project management, organizational management, good governance, public awareness and so on. Like many LDC Members, my delegation struggles to understand how these initiatives can be justified as technology transfer or what technologies have been transferred to the LDCs. In addition, most of these reports do not clearly offer information on incentives provided to enterprises and institutions in the reporting Member's territory. 360.   My delegation finds that these reports are a mixture of technical assistance programmes and a few technology transfer initiatives. We sincerely acknowledge that technical assistance programmes aimed at enhancing capacities are extremely important for the LDCs. However, these reports only fulfil the requirements of TRIPS Article 67 on technical cooperation but do not fully satisfy the obligation of TRIPS Article 66.2. 361.   LDCs always appreciate the contributions of developed country Members and their annual implementation reports under TRIPS Article 66.2. During the July 2020 meeting of the TRIPS Council, the LDC Group submitted a template for annual reporting (document IP/C/W/664) under TRIPS Article 66.2. The proposed template does not demand any new information and has just reorganized the columns and rows of the existing reporting format that developed country Members are already using following the TRIPS Council decision contained in document IP/C/28 dated 20 February 2003 and the reportable areas proposed through document IP/C/W/561 dated 06 October 2011. The main objective of the reporting template (document IP/C/W/664) is to specify the incentives and the details of the enterprise and institution receiving the incentives from the developed country Members and transferring technology to LDCs. 362.   The LDC Group believes that the improved 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. During the July 2020 meeting of the TRIPS Council, my delegation requested Members to examine the LDC submission in document IP/C/W/640 to help specify the meaning of 'incentives to enterprises and institutions' and the LDC submission room document RD/IP/24 to agree on developing an illustrative list of incentives for the purpose of technology transfer to LDCs. My delegation requests the reporting Members to consider using the improved template contained in document IP/C/W/640 for annual reporting from 2021. My delegation also expects that the next WTO workshop on technology transfer to LDCs early 2021, will serve a good platform for constructive dialogue between developed country and LDC Members on the issue of technology transfer and annual reporting. 363.   My delegation also thanks those developed country Members who have expressed willingness to engage further and consider using the template. The delegation of Bangladesh stands ready to engage constructively with Members. In addition, Bangladesh requests the TRIPS Council to please keep the item for discussion in the agenda of the next meeting of the Council.

The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
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