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
374.   My delegation will address agenda items 13 and 14 together. We would like to thank the Chair and the WTO Secretariat for including these items in the agenda of this TRIPS Council, providing an opportunity to continue the debates following the presentation of the report today and during the General Council. We thank the delegations of India and South Africa for their leadership on these very important issues and we also thank the representative of the European Union for the intervention made. 375.   Our intervention aligns with the ones of South Africa, India and TRIPS waiver co-sponsors, and others in support of the envisaged proposals. We thank Members for the statements delivered as well as for the intervention of the EU concerning both agenda items in discussion. We requested the floor just to reiterate the appeal on the need for goodwill, as both issues are of utmost importance. As has been repeatedly referred to, cooperation, solidarity and collective efforts can adequately lead to solutions to the broader crisis facing the globe. 376.   We emphasize that for such a situation, faced with and witnessing people still dying and continuing to be infected around the world, these realities are clear indications that the whole efforts devoted in terms of the production and provision of vaccines and other medical goods provided up until now, are still not yet enough to respond to existing demand. A positive consideration of the TRIPS Waiver Proposal for certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for a limited period of time, as continuously defended, would provide an openness that would allow other producers in a position to engage to be able to devote efforts and start producing and contributing to scaleup production of vaccines, therapeutics, preventives and other medical goods and equipment, in addition to the currently existing capacities that have proven to be simply limited, and unable to respond to demand. 377.   For such a global challenge as COVID-19, the issue should not be just to evaluate if one or another initiative and/or proposal is or is not appropriate to address COVID-19. Instead, the global community should reach an understanding to join efforts in goodwill to find solutions that could better respond, through an urgent engagement of more producers that can contribute to increase the productive capacity worldwide and allow for scaling up production. Thus, the TRIPS Waiver Proposal deserves be taken into consideration. Production concentrated to a limited number of producers has shown to not yet be sufficient and able to effectively respond to existing demand, specifically in the developing countries, including in LDCs. We call upon WTO Members to consider engaging in a compromised manner and constructively work towards a text-based discussion in view of advancing to a positive outcome during 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