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
440.   Thank you, Chair, for convening this formal meeting of the TRIPS Council. It is an unfortunate but of course necessary decision to postpone MC12. Nevertheless we should look at this an opportunity to further engage with our partners to come to consensus on this proposed waiver. We align with the statements delivered by South Africa and India on behalf of the cosponsors of the waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19. 441.   The current situation with the Omicron variant identified further underlines the importance of enhancing equitable access to COVID-19 treatments. Failing to do so would invariably result in further multiplication of variants which may prove to be more deadly than before. The only possible solution is to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination coverage as rapidly and as widely possible, especially among populations designated as high priority. To do that, we need to enhance manufacturing capacity of vaccines and their distribution. In order to achieve that, we need to come to an understanding among the Members of the WTO to start text-based negotiations without delay on the TRIPS Waiver Proposal. We echo previous speakers in calling for accelerated efforts to achieve substantive progress through textual discussions. This is the time for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation and to make a concerted effort to address vaccine equity challenges facing the world today. As we know, no one is safe until everyone is safe.
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