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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
Korea, Republic of
14 DRAFT GENERAL COUNCIL DECLARATION ON THE TRIPS AGREEMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF A PANDEMIC
310.   We would like to address agenda items 13 and 14 together. At the outset, we would like to express our appreciation for the co-sponsors and the European Union for their proposals and for leading the international community's discussion on our response to the pandemic. We would also like to thank the chair for leading this difficult process. 311.   It has been our consistent position that the protection of the intellectual property system is an important principle and should be respected as such. But to deal with the grave health crisis that we are facing, we should constructively engage in WTO discussions to ultimately contribute to the ramping up of COVID-19 vaccine production and their equal distribution. In this regard, we are of the view that along with the IP-related measures, a holistic approach should be taken, such as encouraging technology transfer, facilitating the supply of raw materials and strengthening COVAX's operation. 312.   Regarding the EU's proposal, our delegation appreciates the EU for its efforts to facilitate the use of existing flexibilities of the TRIPS Agreement. We hope that based on the EU's proposal, we can examine identified obstacles in utilizing compulsory licensing in Articles 31 and 31bis of the TRIPS Agreement and find a way to effectively enhance the WTO's role to promote public health. 313.   To conclude, as a next step, Members should continue the discussion in a constructive way, and contribute to overcoming the pandemic by producing outcomes in the area of trade and health at MC12.
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