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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
United Kingdom
419.   The decision to postpone MC12 is undoubtedly a disappointment, but it was the right call. The health of MC12 participants is the key priority whilst there is uncertainty regarding the new variant. We are grateful to the Director-General for her inspiring leadership, as well as to the WTO Secretariat for their professional preparation of the Ministerial. Whilst we await confirmation of a new date, the United Kingdom will continue to engage actively in all key negotiations. We are determined to see the WTO back in business and fit to meet the challenges of the 2020s. These uncertainties only underline the vital ongoing importance of innovation in the fight to contain, treat, and prevent COVID-19, given the existing international intellectual property framework's demonstrated ability to enable such action. Despite MC12's postponement, our commitment to reaching a pragmatic and tangible outcome remains. As we have stated in previous TRIPS Councils, the UK has made concerted efforts to engage bilaterally with Members on this file. We are committed to continue engaging with Members to find a solution acceptable to all. 420.   Collaboration by all is the way forward. We are encouraged by the tone of the discussions we have had, and as we are still all agreed on the need for tangible outcomes, we remain hopeful this tone will continue in the discussions. It is clear that compromises will be needed from all to achieve an outcome acceptable to all. Of course, efforts to increase global and diversified production and supply of vaccines will continue. So will further research and development, underpinned by the IP framework. That said, it is clear we must now particularly concentrate on equitable distribution and administration of available vaccines in order to contain, treat, and prevent COVID-19, in all its variants. Ensuring vaccines reach people's arms is fundamental. We look forward to further practical discussions focused on areas of convergence in formats that are most suitable to that. To that end, we agree with keeping this session open and propose to reconvene when there is a solution at hand, not to reiterate known positions.
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