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
280.   My delegation addresses agenda items 13 and 14 jointly. A crisis of severe global impact has been caused by COVID-19. Its impact has spilled over from the health sector to affect all areas of life. At this crucial moment for humanity, it is essential that we find a way to respond in an integral way to all aspects of the problem associated with mass vaccination in developing countries. For example, it is crucial that we eliminate current prohibitions on exports of vaccines, medical inputs and other elements necessary for the production of vaccines, which often are only produced by companies located in developed countries. We must immediately eliminate unilateral coercive measures imposed against developing countries, which further complicate the production, access and distribution of vaccines, such as those imposed, even in this context, by the United States in this context against my country. 281.   It is an undisputable truth that the vast majority of developing countries does not have any vaccine production capacity and that, even if patents were facilitated, they lack the technological, financial and human resources to create that capacity. We therefore need firm and clear commitments from developed country Members to build capacity, ensure financing and technology transfer to developing countries. Not less important are the networks of health infrastructure distributed across territories, with storage and transport capacity, as well as enough health personnel to undertake mass vaccination campaigns in the shortest time possible, all of which is lacking in the majority of developing countries. Therefore, we need to work to create, strengthen, or expand them as required. 282.   Given the impact of these issues and their eventual scope in time, we need more in-depth analysis. We cannot overlook any aspect. We must ensure comprehensive analysis to provide an integral solution to the problem of universal, equitable, non-discriminatory, affordable access to vaccines, equipment and other inputs to combat COVID-19. We must work to build consensus corresponding to the practice of our Organization and the binding nature of its agreements. 283.   We reiterate the need to work in order to achieve the prompt universal immunization against COVID-19, as well as ensuring the prompt, equitable, in solidarity and affordable distribution of vaccines and other inputs and equipment to combat COVID-19. In this effort, Cuba will continue to provide international support via bilateral agreements, South-South cooperation, triangular cooperation, or through any international organization.
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