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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
324.   We appreciate the efforts made by the Chair and the WTO Secretariat to convene this TRIPS Council meeting. I will address agenda items 13 and 14 together. 325.   Japan promotes international cooperation to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in the global fight against COVID-19 and Japan has contributed financial assistance of approximately USD 3.9 billion so far. Japan supports promoting vaccine supply through the COVAX Facility. Japan has pledged to contribute a total of USD 1 billion to the COVAX Facility and has provided approximately 25 million doses of vaccines. Furthermore, at the Seventy-Sixth Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the Global COVID-19 Summit, Japan announced that, with additional contributions, Japan will provide up to approximately 60 million doses of vaccines in total. 326.   Japan will continue to discuss constructively various issues and measures with Members to ensure equitable access to safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccines in all countries and regions toward the early convergence of COVID-19. Discussions about issues related to vaccine supply and intellectual property rights require comprehensive deliberations from various perspectives, such as safety, effectiveness, quality assurance, scarcity of raw materials, and procurement of materials. Members share the common goal of providing timely and secure access to high-quality, safe, efficacious, and affordable vaccines and medicines for all, as reported to the General Council. Any ideas and proposals should be considered as long as they are effective in achieving these goals. Japan is ready to constructively discuss various issues and measures with Members towards these goals until all Members reach consensus. 327.   From this viewpoint, we appreciate the proposal from the European Union as well, which aims at improving the legal clarity of the compulsory licensing system. The delegation of Japan would like to continue to discuss this proposal with WTO Members. Japan will continue to exchange views on any proposals closely with WTO Members. At the same time, Japan remains committed to tackling various problems caused by COVID-19, together with the international community.
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