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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter (South Africa)
European Union
76.   First, I would like to react to the intervention made by the delegation of Indonesia. We take note of the question on these measures Hungary implemented, and we will see what other information is available and we will come back on this issue. So this is our reaction to Indonesia's intervention. 77.   Also, we would like to react to the intervention South Africa made concerning the EU measure related to export restriction. This decision is a reaction to a possible breach of contracts signed with the EU, as doses that were initially destined for the EU may have been exported to third countries. This would be a clear and unacceptable violation of legal obligations by the companies in question, while delaying the vaccination of EU citizens. 78.   In order to prevent such violation, the Commission has decided that all vaccine manufacturers should declare exports to third countries. From 30 January, the customs authorities are checking all vaccine export declarations. They may also control the products and trace their origin to ensure that they do correspond to third countries purchase contracts. These checks and controls will ensure transparency in a sensitive market, and avoid reselling, litigations and trafficking. They will be conducted in a speedy manner to avoid unnecessary additional delays. 79.   These obligations are strictly targeted to vaccine manufacturers and are applicable for a limited period of time. They will be proportionate and will not slow down the vaccine trade between the EU and third countries. These measures have been designed in a targeted manner to limit the impact on our trading partners and to exempt the most-vulnerable countries. The legal decision adopted explicitly rules out exports: a. to the EFTA countries, the Western Balkans, the neighbourhood countries, b. the 92 low- and middle- income countries covered by the COVAX facility, as well as those delivered through COVAX, UNICEF and PAHO to any COVAX participating country; as well as c. in the context of a humanitarian emergency response. 80.   With these provisions, the EU stands to its commitments towards its partners.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.
15. The Chair recalled that this agenda item had been discussed in the Council since its informal open-ended meeting on 19 June 2020 and had been on the Council's agenda at its formal meetings since then. In light of broad support for a continuation of these exchanges at the preceding meetings, the item was on the agenda to facilitate exchange of views on measures undertaken as the pandemic persists.
16. As one basis for the Council's exchange, she referred to the compilation "COVID-19: Measures Regarding Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights" that was available from the WTO website and contained a non-exhaustive list of IP-related measures taken in the context of COVID-19, compiled by the Secretariat from official sources and verified by the Members concerned. This list was updated continuously, even if the rate at which new measures are brought to our attention had slowed considerably since the last meeting. She encouraged Members to inform the Secretariat of any measures that should be included on this list, as well as any update or information on the expiry, or end of application, of such measures. She invited Members to inform the Council on their measures.
17. The representatives of Chile; Canada; the European Union; Ecuador; South Africa; China; the Russian Federation; and Indonesia took the floor.
18. The Chair proposed that, in view of the continued interest on this agenda item, the Council agree to revert to the item at its next meeting, so that the exchanges can once again take place, including on the basis of the updated Secretariat document of COVID-19 related IP measures.
19. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/98, IP/C/M/98/Add.1