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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
324.   Ukraine thanks the co-sponsors for their efforts and the submission of the revised draft decision text, presented in document IP/C/W/669/Rev.1, which is being analysed by the Ukrainian authorities, in consultations with relevant experts and interested stakeholders. Based on the preliminary feedback received, we would like to reiterate the importance of all categories of intellectual property and underscore the necessity of dissemination of technology and know-how to ensure rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 325.   Ukraine strongly believes that intellectual property rights play a key role in the promotion of research and innovation. The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights should contribute to the transfer and dissemination of new technology, to the mutual advantage of developers and manufactures, as set out in the TRIPS Agreement. We also agree that extraordinary circumstances, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, require extraordinary measures to scale up vaccine manufacturing and distribution globally for achieving objective of social and economic welfare. 326.   Ensuring the availability and greater access to affordable vaccines and other health products is a matter of top priority for Ukraine. In this regard, we would like to indicate that Ukraine has manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector, which can be used for expanding COVID-19 production capacity. Even more, our pharmaceutical manufactures have referred to COVID-19 vaccine developers with the proposals on technology transfer on the terms of manufacturing agreements, but, according to the information at our disposal, no progress has been achieved so far. 327.   In this light, Ukraine would welcome further steps that would facilitate the international transfer and dissemination of technology, allow for the establishment of the collaboration and achieving agreements with developers so as to ramp up manufacturing and supply of needed health products to end the COVID-19 crisis. 328.   Ukraine has been following the extensive discussions on the Proposal and would like to confirm its readiness to constructively engage on the text-based negotiations in order to achieve the common goal of ensuring timely and universal access to vaccines and other health products needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We are interested in participating in further discussions in various formats as suggested. In this regard, would rely on your guidance and suggestions by the co-sponsors with regard to the timing and format of such meetings.
54. The Chair recalled that the last formal meeting on 30 April had been dedicated to the "Proposal for a Waiver from Certain Provisions of The TRIPS Agreement for the Prevention, Containment and Treatment of Covid-19" had been circulated by India and South Africa on 2 October 2020. It had since been co-sponsored by the delegations of Kenya, Eswatini, Mozambique, Pakistan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, the African Group, the LDC Group, the Maldives, Fiji, Namibia, Vanuatu, Indonesia and Jordan.
55. Since the formal meeting on 30 April, the co-sponsors had circulated a joint statement on 17 May 2021, which had been circulated in document IP/C/W/677, and a revised decision text for the proposed waiver on 21 May 2021, which had been circulated in document IP/C/W/669/Rev.1.
56. At the request of co-sponsors, the Council had held an open-ended informal meeting on 31 May where the co-sponsors presented the revised proposal, and Members had had a first opportunity to exchange views on the revised proposal. He said that, at the conclusion of the meeting, he had noted that a large number of delegations had called for the commencement of text-based negotiations, and that he had appealed to those Members to come forward with their suggestions regarding practical modalities and formats for such a process. To Members that had indicated that they were still examining the revised proposal, he had expressed his hope that they would be in a position to engage in a more substantive discussion at the formal Council meeting. To Members that had indicated their intention to present concrete proposals in the near future, he had urged them to submit such proposals sooner rather than later in order to enrich the Council's deliberations, and given the urgency of this issue as underlined by most Members.
57. He said that he had also reminded Members that the next regular formal meeting of the Council was scheduled for 13-14 October, and that Members should reflect on how the Council should report to the next General Council meeting scheduled for 21-22 July. In addition to comments related to the substance of the proposal before the Council, he invited delegations to express their views on how this issue should be taken forward, so that he and the Secretariat could make appropriate arrangements.
58. The representatives of South Africa; Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group; Mongolia; Malaysia; Fiji; Egypt; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Indonesia; Bangladesh; Australia; Mexico; the Plurinational State of Bolivia; the European Union; the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Paraguay; Maldives; Chinese Taipei; the Republic of Korea; Nepal; Turkey; Canada; Chile; Singapore; Jordan; New Zealand; Vanuatu; Ukraine; Norway; China; Hong Kong, China; Brazil; the United Kingdom; Switzerland; Japan; the Russian Federation; El Salvador; Mozambique; Philippines; Angola; Jamaica; the United States; Peru; Argentina; Chad on behalf of the LDC Group; Viet Nam; Namibia; the European Union; India; and Iran took the floor.
59. The Chair said that while he detected continuing disagreement about certain fundamental questions regarding the issues underlying the waiver – and remaining questions on the revised provisions on scope and termination – he had also not heard any objections to engaging in a textbased process on the waiver proposal. In light of the urgency of the matter, he would consult with Members regarding the timing and format of such a process, which could have the General Council scheduled for 21-22 July as a natural target date. Such a process would always need to respect the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency. With this in mind, he was planning to convene an open-ended informal meeting on 17 June 2021 to inform Members on his consultations on the matter until that time, and on the possible process leading up to July.
60. He echoed the Director-General in saying that the issue of equitable access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics was both the moral and economic issue of our time, and an issue which needed to be addressed with urgency. He said that that Members shared the common goal of providing equitable access to these products for the global population as soon as possible, even if they differ on where to place the emphasis of this endeavour. He was hopeful that in continuing urgent and focused discussion on the IP issues relevant to the pandemic, Members could soon agree on pragmatic solutions to any problems that can directly improve Members' pandemic response.
61. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/100, IP/C/M/100/Add.1