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
412.   The European Union continues to be strongly committed to achieving our common goal, which is to continue ramping up and diversifying production of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines, and to ensure global equitable access to these products. We consider that the WTO must find a consensus on the comprehensive trade response to the COVID-19 pandemic as soon as possible. We have been very actively engaged over the past months on this issue, to move forward and to find a solution in the interest of all, ahead of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. The postponement of MC12 does not affect our efforts and the ongoing work with other Members to rapidly arrive at such a solution. 413.   The bottlenecks to COVID-19 vaccine production and diversification have been long identified. Limited manufacturing capacity, restricted access to raw materials and other inputs as well as complex supply chains are the main bottlenecks as regards the production and distribution of COVID19 vaccines. Trade-related measures, if agreed to swiftly, could address some of these bottlenecks and make a real difference. Intellectual property is an element that should be addressed as part of the comprehensive trade response. We believe that it is possible to find a solution on intellectual property that responds to the need to increase the production and diversification of COVID-19 products, but also maintains the protection required for incentivizing technology transfer and investment in research and innovation, which are key to combat the new variants of COVID-19, like the one we are dealing with currently. 414.   The EU will continue to engage in a solution-oriented manner to find an outcome that makes a real difference on the ground, just as we have been over the last couple of months. As discussed previously, there are areas of convergence that should be further explored to find a meaningful solution. We are ready to redouble our efforts to arrive at this consensus as quickly as possible. We call on all Members to engage in the same manner with clear and concrete proposals and with a focus on our common objective. As regards the organization of work, we found the various bilateral and other contacts with Members the most conducive to finding a solution. This engagement must continue.
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