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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
370.   As we made clear at the 14 September informal TRIPS Council session, Australia is focused on achieving a positive, meaningful, consensus driven outcome at MC12 that sends a powerful message of global solidarity and of the WTO's ability to respond to a major global crisis. We would support a TRIPS waiver as a way to not only send that message, but also to affirm the right of all WTO Members to overcome any intellectual property barriers that emerge in responding to COIVD-19. 371.   While we are pleased that all TRIPS Council Members agree that IP should not pose a barrier to accessing COVID-19 health products, Australia remains concerned that some of the entrenched views regularly expressed in the TRIPS Council are putting at risk our ability to achieve consensus and find common ground on this issue by MC12. After almost 12 months of debate, there remains disagreement between Members about the role of IP in responding to COVID-19. We therefore call on all Members to engage urgently and actively to help deliver a positive outcome. Australia looks forward to further exchanges with all WTO Members, including in small group sessions and bilaterally, as a way to achieve this. 372.   With regard to agenda item 14, Australia would like to once again thank the European Union for its draft General Council Declaration. Australia has always been clear that we support the use of TRIPS Agreement flexibilities wherever necessary, including in response to COVID-19. We have also made clear that we stand ready to support any Member seeking to implement or operationalize TRIPS Agreement flexibilities in response to COVID-19. In addition to negotiations for a TRIPS waiver, Australia looks forward to agreeing upon ways to expand, simplify and clarify the TRIPS flexibilities to ensure they are pandemic ready. We welcome all initiatives, including the EU's draft General Council Declaration, that seek to achieve this.
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