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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
370.   Jamaica thanks the proponents of the waiver for their efforts in constructively engaging Members on this matter. We note that their constructive spirit has resulted in their revision of the proposal. We welcome this gesture and are of the view that it will serve to encourage further dialogue and to make progress towards finding an amicable solution on the matter. 371.   Jamaica is not a co-sponsor but continues to support the underlying principles in the proposal which seeks to ensure equitable access on a non-discriminatory basis to medicines and vaccines. We have taken note of the revision, which is under consideration in capital. 372.   Our preliminary assessment of the revised proposal shows that it has taken on board many of the comments or concerns raised by Members in the discussions. We commend the co-sponsors for their willingness to listen to others and their hard work in seeking to incorporate the views of nonproponents. 373.   It is without a doubt that all countries have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, as such, there must be a global, coordinated response. It is only through such coordinated efforts that we will be able to prevent, treat and contain the virus and jump start economic recovery efforts. 374.   The WTO, as the multilateral institution responsible for global trade, has a critical role to play in the international community's efforts to preserve the health and save the lives of millions of people across the globe. We have a duty to strike an appropriate balance between the objectives of incentivizing innovation, on the one hand, and on the other hand, safeguarding health and saving lives. We can see where the revised proposal is seeking to strike that balance. We are, therefore, in solidarity with the sentiments of proponents. 375.   Having exhausted the question and answer process, we support a move to text-based negotiations on the document, which we believe would give other Members an opportunity to propose amendments and, where possible, pursue a merger of the various submissions on this very pressing issue. Our collective objective should be to arrive at a final version that all WTO Members can live with. 376.   Jamaica remains encouraged by the robust discussions and exchanges on the proposal which have ensued over the past months and is confident that WTO Members are capable of arriving at a consensus to ensure that the Organization plays an effective role in the response to this pandemic.
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