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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli and Ambassador Dr. Lansana Gberie
Chad on behalf of LDC Group

411.   On behalf of the LDC Group, I would like to thank Canada and all the co-sponsors of the document. It is true that intellectual property law plays an important role in innovation. We know that, in view of competitiveness issues, especially against the current backdrop of crisis, wealth and job creation is, in some countries, increasingly dependent on the ability of the business ecosystem to renew itself. In the case of LDCs, it is not only a question of renewal, but rather of the need to set up more innovative MSMEs and make them work, and of how to support MSMEs in LDCs and strengthen their development capabilities, knowing that MSMEs have very limited room for manoeuvre in terms of price competitiveness. If we consider this matter holistically, in view of the financial and market power of large enterprises, the development potential of MSMEs lies mainly in their capacity for innovation. 412.   However, in the case of LDCs, there are geniuses, young people at the cutting edge of business start-ups and innovation but who lack certain tools, notably in terms of meeting funding needs. In that regard, I share the view expressed by a number of delegations, in particular that of the European Union, in relation to bank loans. You can imagine the difficulties LDCs have in obtaining funding. If, in developed countries, such problems exist, in LDCs the challenges are multiplied tenfold. There is reluctance on the part of banks; that is the reality. We need guarantees to help MSMEs in LDCs to obtain preferential credit. I believe that the examples cited by Canada are very interesting, whether microfinancing projects in Mali or support for women in Ethiopia. 413.   I think that there are elements of great interest to us and perhaps the question I would like to ask to the Canadian colleague is whether there are projects that could also be extended to other countries and how relevant information can be obtained in that regard. I think that this is extremely important for us as an LDC. We have also seen, in the light of or as a result of the global pandemic, that there were stabilization mechanisms in some countries. We have seen that the European Central Bank supported micro and small enterprises in Europe. We have also seen national banks and States mobilize to help MSMEs to cope with the crisis, and some MSMEs have managed to weather the crisis. 414.   However, LDCs have neither the mechanisms nor the budget needed to help MSMEs to cope with this situation; some MSMEs have already been lost to the crisis. I therefore believe that we must continue our discussions in order to come up with new alternatives to ensure adequate financing to help MSMEs, in particular, and to play a real role and contribute to sustainable development in our countries. Business competitiveness data reveals that 95% of companies worldwide are MSMEs and 10% of people work in that sector. 415.   Paradoxically, MSMEs generate only 30% of revenue and therefore, if the aim is for more robust and sustainable growth, it is imperative for MSMEs to play a key role compared to large enterprises. How can we help SMEs to understand how to improve their management, their competitiveness, and their efficiency, in accordance with the required standards? We think that we must consider measuring, identifying, and boosting the competitiveness of MSMEs, which represent, on the African continent alone, almost 90% of the economic sector in Africa and the majority of the informal sector. In that connection, we may also need help to be able to better organize the informal sector. How can we boost the competitiveness of our MSMEs and receive help with the organization of the informal sector? 416.   Despite the numerous opportunities available, MSMEs in LDCs are often faced with specific challenges. This underdevelopment can be partially attributed to a lack of information, suitable skills, and resources. Closing that gap would lead to both increased productivity and significant benefits for the general public. This is why we think it is useful to expand the scope of private sector approaches, including through dialogue and exchanges between MSMEs and governments, on the one hand, and between MSMEs and multilateral trade institutions, on the other, as well as with all relevant partners. It is also important to put particular emphasis on transformation, behavioural changes, increased productivity, and the continued involvement of young people in starting up and growing MSMEs, especially innovative ones. 417.   That was what I wished to say on behalf of the LDC Group in relation to these documents and to the comments and submissions of my colleagues. Once again, thank you to Canada, the United States and all the other co-sponsors for this rather interesting presentation. We are particularly interested in ideas involving our micro and small enterprises and the ability of our young people to set up innovative enterprises. There is enormous potential in LDCs but, unfortunately, this potential is not being harnessed owing to financial constraints and a lack of certain competencies.

The Council took note of the statements made under this item.
83. The Chair said this item had been put on the agenda at the request of Australia; Canada; Chile; the European Union; Japan; Singapore; Switzerland; The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; the United Kingdom; and the United States of America. A communication with the same title had been received from the co-sponsors and circulated as document .
84. The representatives of Canada; the United States; the European Union; Japan; Singapore; the United Kingdom; Chinese Taipei; Australia; Switzerland; Chile; Chad Brazil; Hong Kong, China; China; and WIPO took the floor.
85. The Council took note of the statements made under this item.
IP/C/M/104/Add.1, IP/C/M/104/Rev.1, IP/C/M104