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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
European Union
14 DRAFT GENERAL COUNCIL DECLARATION ON THE TRIPS AGREEMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF A PANDEMIC
304.   Since the proposal for a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19 and the Draft General Council Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in the circumstances of a Pandemic are in our meetings, whether informal or small groups, discussed side by side, the European Union would like to deliver this time a single statement covering both agenda items 13 and 14. 305.   The EU is strongly committed to achieving our common goal: to continue ramping up production, to share COVID-19 vaccines and medicines more widely and faster, and to ensure equitable access to these products for low– and middle-income countries. 306.   Intellectual property-related issues are a part of the trade response to the pandemic. The intellectual property system has played the key role in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines and can play an enabling role in deploying existing capacity or creating new capacity for the production of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. The EU believes that it is possible to enhance this role of the IP system while at the same time maintaining the protection required for incentivizing technology transfer and investment in innovation, so that we can fight against new strains of COVID19 and any future diseases. It is to this end that the EU has put forward a proposal on the clarification and facilitation of the use of the Special Compulsory Licensing System. 307.   The European Union appreciated the possibility provided by the informal meetings of the TRIPS Council and small group meetings to discuss the issues of scope and implementation of the revised Waiver Proposal and the EU proposal. The discussions have been helpful to understand the positions of various delegations and to identify important points of convergence. The results are encouraging. The EU proposal is meant to clear any doubts that persist about the use of the System and to indicate ways in which the System can be used in a fast and simple manner that is fully adapted to the challenges of the pandemic and to the need to support the local production of the needed vaccines, medicines and diagnostics. 308.   We encourage all WTO Members to try to find agreement on the basis of the points of convergence identified in our discussions. We need a solution that is pragmatic, targeted and effective in responding to the current needs while keeping intact the necessary incentives for innovation. It is through the targeted approach that we believe we can advance in our discussions on the intellectual property element of the WTO response to the COVID-19 crisis and also pave the way for advancing on the other parts of the needed comprehensive approach. We are committed to continue constructively engaging in the discussions in the TRIPS Council, in the small group consultations and in the bilateral exchanges. In addition, we are ready to consider any other proposal that may contribute to our common goals. 309.   Finally, we would like to emphasise that the intellectual property aspects are only a part of the multi-pronged approach proposed by the EU. We call on all Members to engage in discussions on all elements of this approach as only this way we will be able to adequately respond to the current crisis.
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