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
501.   We also welcome Argentina as a co-sponsor of the Waiver Proposal. 502.   It is with great concern that we continue to witness the continuous mutations and emergence of the latest Omicron variant of the virus. Timely, efficacious and affordable access to quality COVID19 vaccines and products continues to be an issue for more vulnerable countries like ours. 503.   The mutation capacities of the virus and the difficulties faced by one part of the world in combating its spread have further increased the urgency to scale up the production and distribution of therapeutics and diagnostics useful in combating the virus. 504.   Intellectual property rights remain a barrier to scaling up manufacturing capacities in developing countries of COVID-19 related products. The current vaccine inequity continues to result in higher infection rates all over the world. 505.   In our view, the Waiver Proposal is sufficient in addressing some of the concerns raised by Members. The duration contained in the Waiver Proposal indicates that the proposal is not intended to apply in an unlimited manner and therefore is restricted to only COVID-19-related products in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. We urge Members to reach a middle ground with a view to attaining convergence. 506.   Finally, we would like to encourage Members to move to text-based negotiations towards finding a multilateral solution to ensure timely, affordable, and equitable access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. We remain open and will continue to engage on this issue until a mutually beneficial agreement is reached.
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