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
360.   We would like to thank the sponsors of the Waiver Proposal for their most recent communication contained in document . Norway has thus far not been convinced that the Waiver Proposal, in its revised version, document , would be an efficient tool for increased access to vaccines and other products and technologies that are covered by the proposal. However, in the wider discussion on trade and health at the WTO, we also need to ensure that intellectual property rights do not constitute a barrier to solving the current or future health crises, and we need to find a pragmatic solution. Norway would like to appeal to all parties to search for a common ground as a basis for a pragmatic compromise that can achieve consensus. We look forward to continuing our deliberations within the framework of the TRIPS Council. 361.   Turning to agenda item 14, we would like to thank the European Union for their proposal for a General Council declaration on TRIPS and Public Health in the circumstances of a Pandemic, contained in document . As we have said in earlier discussions on this proposal, we understand it to be seen as part of a wider WTO response to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is in Norway's view an appropriate point of departure. Also, the proposal is closely linked to the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, and the aim is to make the so-called TRIPS "flexibilities" better suited to the circumstances of a pandemic. 362.   We consider this proposal to be a useful contribution that merits further discussion. Without prejudice to the discussion on other proposals, or to the timing or format of any decisions on trade and health, it can be one of several elements to strengthen the multilateral trading system's ability to respond in the event of future health crises.
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