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
513.   The LDC Group sincerely appreciates all the delegations who have spoken today in support of the submission. Our group also welcomes those delegations who expressed their willingness to engage further on this important issue. The LDC Group met some developed country delegations earlier and responded to some of their queries. The Group is further ready to engage with them at their earliest convenience. 514.   We repeat that the LDCs comprise around only 12% of the world population but account for less than 2% of the world GDP and around 1% of world trade. This statistic is quite important for us. Therefore, we emphasize that extending this transition period to the LDCs as proposed will not impact the global community but would greatly benefit the LDCs by putting them on a sustainable development path. No one can deny this objective. 515.   We are grateful that Members largely accept the necessity of flexibilities for the LDCs. Such flexibilities should be continued for a longer time to adjust the economies of the LDCs, particularly after the outbreak of the pandemic. The LDCs are committed to following the rules of the WTO, including the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, within their limited capacities. But they need flexibilities, which are also acknowledged in the text of Article 66.1 of TRIPS. The objective of such affirmative actions is to help integrate the LDCs into the multilateral trading system and create policy space for their sustainable development. LDCs need unconditional support from the Members. 516.   We sincerely request the Council to keep this item on the agenda of its next meeting. On this issue, we also request the TRIPS Council Chair's support to advance the discussions to a positive outcome.
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