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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
335.   Brazil is deeply committed to providing solutions within the WTO framework for supporting global efforts to end the pandemic. There is no simple formula for tackling the wide array of challenges involved in developing, manufacturing and distributing vaccines and therapeutics around the globe. As we have repeatedly stated, a holistic solution is required. That it is why we have been working on different fronts to build a robust trade and health framework for the WTO, one that deals with the diverse challenges in a comprehensive way. And we remain open to other proposals that may contribute to further improve the tools available within the WTO to respond to health crises. We are also looking into the future. We want to leave this pandemic better prepared for the next ones. 336.   It is clear that the world is not equally equipped to fight such a pandemic, and this imbalance is something we should urgently address. Production of life-saving drugs and vaccines is too concentrated in certain parts of the world. This pandemic has proven that this has to change. In the past year, we have also seen emerge technologies that might increase the speed of our response to future pathogens and other variants of COVID-19. These technologies might also be an important tool to fight local epidemics everywhere, including in the developing world. Disseminating this crucial knowledge would certainly enhance the world's level of preparedness for future threats. 337.   Discussions on this Council have eminently focused on IP protection, but only marginally touched upon the transmission of technology and know-how, which might not automatically flow to potential manufacturers of vaccines and therapeutics once IP rights are licensed or waived. We would like to see more in-depth discussions on the operationalization of this important practical aspect that is fundamental to the success of an IP waiving strategy. We are also interested in solutions that preserve transparency and a sufficient level of legal certainty for stakeholders, so that we do not unreasonably disrupt collaboration efforts. Brazil will support any solution that will contribute to building a more equitable and efficient worldwide response for this pandemic and future ones. Brazil is ready to start text-based negotiations regarding a waiver for TRIPS provisions during the pandemic. We will engage openly and constructively in such discussions aiming at tangible results in the shortest timeframe possible.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
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