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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
13 EXTENSION OF THE TRANSITION PERIOD UNDER ARTICLE 66.1 OF THE TRIPS AGREEMENT FOR LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRY MEMBERS
473.   My delegation thanks the delegate of Chad for his statement on behalf of the LDC Group. 474.   My delegation recalls its statement delivered at the October TRIPS Council meeting, in which Switzerland recognizes the challenges faced by LDCs in implementing international obligations such as the ones under the TRIPS Agreement. We commend those LDCs which have nevertheless undertaken efforts and made progress towards implementing the TRIPS Agreement. 475.   This progress will help them to create a sound enabling environment for a more sustainable development through a rules-based and transparent regulatory framework for the protection and enforcement of all IPRs. It will facilitate the promotion of inventive activity at the national level and strengthen competitiveness at the international level and foster technology transfer and foreign investment. 476.   Switzerland is aware of the resource constraints that LDCs still face today and that they need flexibility when defining their priorities on how to spend their limited resources. Therefore, Switzerland is supportive of a further extension of the general TRIPS transitional period for LDCs. 477.   Further examination is needed to get a full understanding of how the proposal in document IP/C/W/668 complies with Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement, as we need to also implement this extension in a manner consistent with WTO law. The Swiss delegation is available to discuss this with the LDC Group in order to find a mutually agreeable solution, including in consultations by your successor, Chair, to facilitate this solution.
60. The Chair recalled that the transition period for least-developed country Members had been extended twice; most recently, by the TRIPS Council decision of 11 June 2013, and was currently set to expire on 1 July 2021, which was in less than four months' time. Regarding extensions of this 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."
61. The LDC Group had circulated its request for an extension on 1 October 2020. Since then, she had held small-group consultations on this issue on 22 December 2020 and on 10 February 2021. From these consultations, her impression was that delegations were in principle favourable to extending the transition period for LDCs. As regards the specific modalities of such extension, some delegations expressed full support for the extension as requested, some expressed a preference for extending the period for a limited number of years, and others had additional questions on how the request for a transition period for graduated LDCs related to Article 66.1.
62. She reminded delegations of the limited time remaining before the current transition period expired and urged them to focus their interventions on any specific outstanding questions they might have, and to consider making concrete suggestions on possible outcomes, with a view to adopting a decision on extension at the next TRIPS Council meeting in June 2021.
63. The representatives of Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; the United Kingdom; South Africa; Chile; Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group; Turkey; China; India; Australia; Switzerland; the United States of America; Egypt; the European Union; Chinese Taipei; Tunisia; Japan; Indonesia; Nepal; and the Holy See took the floor.
64. The Chair proposed that the Council request the incoming Chair to hold consultations on this matter, with a view to working towards a concrete outcome for the June meeting.
65. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/98, IP/C/M/98/Add.1