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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
14 DRAFT GENERAL COUNCIL DECLARATION ON THE TRIPS AGREEMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF A PANDEMIC
278.   Our position is well-known among Members. We therefore ask the Secretariat to reproduce it in the report of this meeting. For Chile, it is important that we continue the dialogue with an open mind and in the spirit of seeking a consensus solution that effectively improves the equitable production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. We are convinced, like other Members, that a genuine solution must involve adopting holistic measures at the WTO, including in relation to, inter alia, export bans, trade facilitation, regulatory coherence and improvements in customs. This is why our country co-sponsors the "Trade and Health Initiative", which is focused precisely on addressing the pandemic in a cross-cutting manner. We have also supported the Director-General's process known as the "third way". We support your suggestion to keep this agenda item open and to allow for dialogue in small groups and at the bilateral level to continue. We hope that the conversation produces an outcome in view of the short time left until MC12. We therefore urge Members to continue the dialogue in this area. Our delegation remains committed to working constructively and responsibly on this matter. 279.   The delegation of Chile subsequently provided the following text on its position for inclusion in these Minutes: Chile is committed to the common objective of providing universal and affordable access to effective, safe and high-quality vaccines and medicines. We shall therefore continue to constructively participate in this discussion with an open mind and in the spirit of seeking a consensus solution that effectively improves the equitable production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. We are convinced, like other Members, that a genuine solution must involve adopting holistic measures at the WTO, including in relation to, inter alia, export bans, trade facilitation, regulatory coherence and improvements in customs. This is why our country co-sponsors the Trade and Health Initiative, which is focused on addressing the pandemic in a cross-cutting manner. We have also supported the Director-General's process known as the "third way". Against this backdrop, Chile remains convinced that intellectual property is not an end in itself, but rather a tool for development. Intellectual property systems must therefore strike the right balance that serves the interests of creators and innovators by incentivizing research and development, while also protecting the interests of society as a whole. For this reason, we reaffirm that the TRIPS Agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of the rights of WTO Members to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all. We consider that we should, as a matter of urgency and without ruling out a priori any possible solution, explore and discuss all necessary avenues for effectively improving the equitable production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. I would like to conclude by indicating that we must ensure in this exercise that the consensus solution genuinely fulfils the above-mentioned objective, avoids any counter-productive effects on vaccine production and limits the creation of false expectations for citizens.
121. The Chair recalled that on 4 June 2021, the Council had received a communication from the European Union on "Urgent Trade Policy Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: Intellectual Property".(document ), which had been followed on 18 June 2021 by a "Draft General Council Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in the Circumstances of a Pandemic".(document ).
122. The European Union had introduced its proposed declaration during an informal meeting held on 24 June 2021. The proposal had also been discussed during informal meetings held on 30 June and 6 and 14 July, and at a formal meeting on 20 July. It had since been discussed at every meeting dedicated to discussing the revised TRIPS waiver proposal under the previous agenda item. As part of the TRIPS Council's status reports to the General Council on the revised waiver request on 27 July and on 4 October, Members had reported that the TRIPS Council would also continue its consideration of the EU's proposal.
123. The representatives of the United Kingdom; Pakistan; Cuba; Republic of Korea; Singapore; Turkey; China; Switzerland; Norway; Brazil; Mozambique; India; and the European Union took the floor.
124. The Chair thanked the delegations for their interventions. Noting that the consideration of the present item was closely linked to the previous one, he suggested to also suspend the conclusion of this agenda item, so that it could be taken up together with the waiver discussion, when the Council resumed these items.
125. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to keep the agenda item open.
126. At the reconvened meeting of 18 November, the report to the General Council was adopted and the Chair said that, it was therefore understood that the agenda items 13 and 14 on the Council's agenda continued to remain open in order to permit more time for bilateral engagement, with a view to resuming – at short notice if necessary – the meeting, when there were indications that Members might be ready to reach an agreement. [see paragraphs 93-99]
127. At the reconvened meeting of 29 November, the Chair proposed to take agenda items 13 and 14 together, as delegations had been making a single statement. [see paragraphs 100-107]
128. At the reconvened meeting of 16 December, the Chair proposed to take agenda items 13 and 14 together, as delegations had been making a single statement. [see paragraphs 108-119]
IP/C/M/103, IP/C/M/103/Add.1