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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
14 DULY MOTIVATED REQUEST BY LDCS TO EXTEND THE TRANSITION PERIOD UNDER ARTICLE 66.1 OF THE TRIPS AGREEMENT FOR LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRY MEMBERS
775.   Thank you for organizing this Council meeting. 776.   The suddenness of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the basest of human survival instincts. Many Members have taken protectionist measures, which, while temporary, may have dramatic consequences for our countries. Restrictions on the export of essential foodstuffs, medical and pharmaceutical products and medical equipment, and the introduction of compulsory licensing deprive the poorest members of society of adequate care and means of protection against the virus, and all this despite the alarming forecasts issued by the World Health Organization (WHO). These restrictive measures, combined with the closing of borders throughout the world, have exacerbated the adverse effects of the pandemic on LDCs and small vulnerable economies, pushing tens if not hundreds of millions of people into a state of precarity and extreme poverty. Land-locked LDCs such as Mali have felt the impact of this shockwave even more. Access to affordable medicine and vaccines, which should be a universal right, is an immense challenge for our low-income countries. LDCs, and even some developing countries, need the provisions of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement to be effectively implemented so as to benefit from the transfer of the technologies required to produce medicines and vaccines. 777.   In the 21st century, no country should be unable to care for its citizens; no human being should have to face making the difficult choice between feeding their family or providing them with treatment. Unfortunately, this is all too often the case in our countries. The virus has shown us that it can spread anywhere, regardless of the level of development, and that closing borders will not stop it. Help us obtain the appropriate resources, the resources we need, by favourably responding to the concerns brought before you. 778.   To conclude, Mali fully endorses and supports the communications submitted by Chad on behalf of the LDCs, as well as the communication submitted by India and South Africa. The waiver under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement should be extended for as long as a Member is an LDCs. We also support the statement just given by Nepal, since we all hope to be able to graduate from LDC status one day, although this situation, being in limbo, is not easy. Lastly, the delegation of Mali requests that this statement be entered into the record by the WTO Secretariat. 779.   With the diligence of all Members, I wish to make a small proposal and perhaps backtrack slightly. Regarding the workshop that you suggested organizing for the start of February – I don't know whether it was this workshop or another that would focus on our countries – Mali proposes that our capitals be invited to an ad hoc workshop. I think this is better. I was very happy this morning to hear many countries describe their domestic provisions in favour of MSMEs, and we would have liked to do the same, but I think that our capitals' presentations on intellectual property organizations will give all Members an idea of the huge gap that exists between our countries. We hope this request is acceptable.
78. The Chair said that the agenda item had been requested by Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group; and a communication had been circulated. She recalled that the transition period for LDC Members had been extended twice: Most recently, by the TRIPS Council Decision of 11 June 2013. Regarding extensions of the transition period, the second sentence of Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement provided that "The Council for TRIPS shall, upon duly motivated request by a least developed country Member, accord extensions of this period." She invited the LDC Group to introduce the request.
79. The representative of Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group took the floor.
80. The Chair invited Members to take the floor.
81. The representatives of Bangladesh; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group, Nepal; Mali; Cambodia; Angola; Afghanistan; Senegal; Jamaica, on behalf of the ACP Group; China; South Africa; Argentina; Egypt; Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group; Indonesia; Turkey; the United States of America; the European Union; Oman; India; Japan; Nigeria; the United Kingdom; Switzerland; and the World Health Organization (WHO) took the floor.
82. The Chair proposed that the LDC Group consult with the Members, that had intervened at the present meeting, to bridge the differences. She would also be available to consult with Members. Considering the time-sensitivity due to the upcoming deadline in 2021, she proposed to revert to the request at the next meeting.
83. 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