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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter
491.   We appreciate the further information provided by LDC Members for the extension of the transition period under Article 66.1. for as long as the Member remains in the category of least developed country and for a period of 12 years from the date of entry into force of a decision by the UN General Assembly to exclude the Member from the least developed country category. We would like to reiterate our support for the request. 492.   Further, we believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact has disproportionately affected LDC Members, making it harder for them to achieve their development needs. We are of the view that providing policy space, including through this extension period, is necessary to assist the LDCs with their national development priorities and ensure that they will not be left behind in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. We further hope that this request could be agreed to by Members as soon as possible.
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