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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
European Union
14 DRAFT GENERAL COUNCIL DECLARATION ON THE TRIPS AGREEMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF A PANDEMIC
383.   Thank you to India for the comments. I just wanted to refer to these comments because we have, I think, answered many of these issues, if not all of the issues, in the discussions that we had on the topic in small groups and also in informal meetings. So I am a little disappointed that we are going back to the same questions. Just to recall the main issues: first of all, this is not a reiteration of provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. It is a very needed clarification responding to the questions that have been raised in the Council for many months. The European Union has tried to make an effort to come with a clarification to actually make sure that the System can be as expeditious as possible. 384.   As we have clarified many times, there is no intention to limit in any way the space and the flexibility of Members. To the contrary, it is to give more legal certainty as to what steps can be taken in the context of the pandemic to make sure Members can move fast. 385.   I must say that I always find it a little difficult to understand how, on the one hand, Members have mentioned that there are problems with the use of compulsory licensing, and that it is too cumbersome; and then on the other hand, whenever we try to have a discussion of how to address these issues, we are told that we are only repeating or reiterating – that everything is absolutely clear. So it is either one or the other. Either everything is absolutely clear and can be used, or there are some issues that we can work on. 386.   What I have not heard in the intervention of the honourable colleague from India is all the other issues that we have discussed. We have moved on. This is not only a discussion about the few elements that we have just heard from India. Luckily, in our discussions in a number of small group meetings and informal meetings, we have noted progress, as we referenced the day before. We have noted progress on other elements and other requirements with relation to compulsory licensing when it comes to, for example, notifications and other procedural requirements. And there were discussions about marking, labelling, remuneration, covering multiple countries in one notification, multiple patents, and so on. 387.   I would like to try to sound a little bit more positive than might have come out from the previous intervention. I think that we have moved on. I think that we have a very good basis for a discussion. I think that there are a lot of points of convergence and if the small group discussions have confirmed one point, it is a readiness to look into these requirements and that Members see sense in working on this. I think that should be something that we should concentrate on: a targeted and pragmatic solution to this question. Resumption of the Council for TRIPS on 18 November 2021
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