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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
Chad on behalf of LDC Group
11 EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL REVIEW UNDER PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE DECISION ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 66.2 OF THE TRIPS AGREEMENT

364.   I am going to attempt to expand on what has been said by Bangladesh, our TRIPS focal point. 365.   I would like to begin by thanking Japan, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and all the developed country Members that submitted the updated reports on Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. 366.   On behalf of the LDC Group, I also wish to thank South Africa for its relevant briefing on the fundamental objective of TRIPS Article 66.2 and what is expected from the operationalization of this Article. 367.   Japan has clearly raised an important concern. I simply wish to reassure our Japanese colleague that, with regard to the business environment that he mentioned as an obstacle, the LDCs are undertaking many efforts in terms of regulations, the legal framework and fiscal incentives to attract investment and therefore improve the accessibility of information and communication technologies (ICT). Our governments have demonstrated clear political determination to facilitate such access and important provisions are in place and will be effectively strengthened. 368.   We have witnessed how technologically equipped countries are the best prepared to handle the current health crisis that has led to restrictions on movement and a slowdown of global activity and aggregate demand. 369.   As you can imagine, for highly fragile countries such as ours, the current global health crisis has intensified the pressure on us while disrupting our progress and development projects. It is therefore vital for us to focus on bridging the digital divide. In this respect, the transfer and use of technology play an important role in our economic catch-up. This is why the LDC Group is seeking the effective implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement on incentives for technology transfer. This Article stipulates that developed country Members shall provide incentives to enterprises and institutions in their territories for the purposes of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to LDCs in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base. 370.   In light of this, we are calling on Members to pay due attention to these matters, which are a priority for the LDC Group, and to follow up on them in line with their obligations under the Agreement relating to technology transfer to LDCs. 371.   It is clear that, in the area of trade, the development of technologies has given rise to trade that is today more fragmented and integrated in regional and global value chains. Technology has enabled many developing countries which were unable to manufacture a whole product to nonetheless profit from the wealth created by these products. We need to be more integrated in these regional and global value chains and able to create value added for the products that generate the most wealth for our economies, through technology that facilitates processing. 372.   It is therefore essential for LDCs to benefit from the transfer of technology that facilitates processing and enables us to increase production levels. We also require technology that allows us to develop new products using existing domestic resources. 373.   I wish to conclude by saying that technology transfer remains a key and vital element for LDCs to ensure the successful implementation of our development programmes and projects. We must therefore collectively pursue our efforts and ensure that the benefits of new technology are harnessed to achieve fair, inclusive and sustainable development with a particular focus on the most fragile.

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