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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
488.   This delegation would like to thank the LDCs for its proposal in document IP/C/W/668. The delegation of Japan supports the proposal to extend the transition period for least developed countries. We are open to discussing the conditions of the extension. It is hoped that the following points will be appropriately taken into account for the discussion. 489.   Firstly, it should be recognized that IP rights are an important instrument to support economic development. The protection of IP rights makes it possible to secure higher investment in research and development, which itself leads to promoting innovation, and encourages foreign direct investment and technology transfer. The IP system, therefore, is conducive to promoting economic development. 490.   Secondly, the incentives to take measures for implementing the TRIPS Agreement should be considered. As to the extension for a certain period from graduation from LDC category, the extension of the support measures available to LDCs is being discussed comprehensively, including measures in other WTO agreements, in the General Council. Therefore, this issue should be discussed first in the General Council, and the discussion at the TRIPS Council should be based on the discussion in the General Council.
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