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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
United States of America
155.   The United States attributes great importance to this review with respect to the obligations under Article 66.2. Our submission this year, document , is a new report, detailing programmes aimed to support LDCs in fostering the necessary environment to encourage the effective, voluntary transfer of technology to LDCs on mutually agreed terms. The US submission details programmes ranging from intellectual property and trade capacity-building to the health, labour, and environmental sectors. Similar to previous submissions, this report includes comments from host country government and private sector representatives regarding the value of several of the programmes listed in the report. 156.   The United States believes that for Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement to function effectively, there must be a robust dialogue between developed country Members and LDCs. Strong communication between partners is critical to ensure targeted incentives remain responsive to the self-identified technology transfer interests and needs of LDCs. The US government interagency strives to make this a priority in all our engagements with our host government partners around the world and would continue to explore ways to improve upon the process as we go forward. 157.   Chair, please allow me to mention some elements contained in our 2021 report, highlighting a few programme updates. While the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges, it did not impede the modified implementation of many of our technology transfer projects. For example, in support of the Department of State's strategic goal of enhancing economic development, the State Department's Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau continued its International Visitor Leadership Program or IVLP to assist partner countries, including LDCs. Under normal conditions, IVLP projects take place in-person with visits to the United States. As a result of travel restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, all IVLP programming took place virtually. 158.   The IVLP U.S. Energy Policy - Security, Independence, and Innovation included participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal. The programme examined domestic and international cooperative efforts to promote energy innovation and US policies that enhance energy security. During 14 October – 6 November 2020, participants examined US efforts to reduce pollution, promote clean energy sources, mitigate environmental impact, ensure secure power grids and waterways, and enact sound energy policies. Participants met virtually with policy makers, industry leaders, academics, scientists, and citizen groups to discuss their views on local and regional energy resources, production, and sustainability. 159.   As Uganda approaches HIV epidemic control and improves capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks, the US Government continues to provide substantial resource and technical support for building health information system (HIS) capacity. Through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) programmes, US government staff, local NGOs, and the Government of Uganda officials have developed electronic medical records, laboratory information systems, and specimen and commodities tracking systems. These analytical tools and dashboards help health professionals from community to national levels provide quality patient care and monitor disease outbreaks and responses. 160.   Over 1,300 health facilities are implementing electronic medical records in HIV clinics. Health Information Exchanges have enabled the automatic relay of data via the internet from remote health facilities nationwide to a national repository dashboard to monitor priority tests, such as early infant diagnosis of HIV and tuberculosis (TB). PEPFAR and GHSA programmes also established internet based communications platforms at Ministry of Health, Regional Referral hospitals, some district health offices, as well some health facilities for industry standard tools like Zoom and ECHO to support remote implementation, training and mentoring (Project Echo), and monitoring of service providers to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. 161.   Commenting on the programme, a Uganda Ministry of Health National Health Laboratory and Diagnostics Services ICT Manager said, "With support from US Centers for Disease Control, the Ministry of Health, Central Public Health Laboratories set up a Data Center at Butabika initially hosting the HIV Reference Testing Laboratory information Systems. With good internet, the facilities are able to access their test results immediately they have been uploaded by the reference laboratories. The Data Center hosting environment has engineered technological innovations to address public health issues." 162.   A Principal Clinical Officer from the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital in Uganda said: "Thank you for this Build Uganda Health Informatics Capacity, ICT training for health workers. I had never received any ICT training in my life. With this training, I can now operate a computer, use it to write a report, analyse, and visualize data using graphs." 163.   Our report describes about 140 programmes just like these ones, that shows how the US Government transforms lives. However, no report can truly represent every activity that directly or indirectly incentivizes enterprises and institutions for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer. This report attempts to describe the most significant activities and programmes and to convey the breadth and depth of efforts by the United States. 164.   We look forward to further discussing our technology transfer programming with the LDCs at the next workshop, and we commend the Secretariat for putting together yet another fantastic workshop during the pandemic.
69. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
60. The Chair turned to the Council's 19th annual review of developed country Members' reports on their implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. Under a Council decision of February 2003, developed country Members are to submit annual reports on actions taken or planned in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. New detailed reports are required every third year, and updates in the intervening years.
61. He recalled that in June 2021, the Council had requested developed country Members to submit their seventh set of new detailed reports in time for the present meeting, and the Secretariat had since circulated a reminder. He also noted that the LDCs had submitted a proposal of a template for the submission of reports on commitments of developed countries under Article 66.2.
62. He noted that the Council had received new reports from Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda Norway had also submitted its report. This documentation was being circulated under the new dedicated document series with the symbol – where "R" stands for "Reports" and "TTI" stands for "Technology Transfer Incentives".
63. He said that paragraph 2 of the Council's Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 states that the annual review should provide Members with an opportunity to pose questions in relation to the information submitted and request additional information; discuss the effectiveness of the incentives provided in promoting and encouraging technology transfer to least developed country Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base; and consider any points relating to the operation of the reporting procedure established by the Decision.
64. Some of the information by developed country Members had been received only very recently, and most of it was, so far, available only in its original language. He therefore intended for Members to have an opportunity to make further comments at the next meeting of the Council. This would give Members a chance to study the information recently circulated and any additional information subsequently received.
65. The Chair announced that the Secretariat was planning to hold the Article 66.2 Workshop in March 2022. In light of the changing situation, the dates of the workshop had not yet been fixed, but would be communicated as soon as they were finalized. This would allow LDCs sufficient time to absorb the information provided by developed countries in their reports and also to ensure that these reports are available in the official languages of the WTO. It would further be an opportunity to discuss the LDC Groups' proposal for a template for reporting on commitments under this Article. He indicated that the Workshop would comprise two days of workshop sessions, and a reporting and review segment within the first TRIPS Council meeting of 2022.
66. He reported that in preparation of the next annual Workshop, the Secretariat had circulated an Article 66.2 survey questionnaire to LDC Members, acceding governments, and observers on 27 September 2021. The relevant delegations were invited to answer questions on current areas of needs and priority for technological development, projects that are relevant to these areas of technology transfer, and their general experience with projects reported under the Article 66.2 implementation and review process. The survey was an optional tool to assist with preparations for the annual workshop and aimed at facilitating and informing practical dialogue and coordination. The deadline to submit answers to this survey questionnaire was Friday, 29 October 2021.
67. The representatives of the United Kingdom; the European Union; Canada; Australia; Norway; the United States; Switzerland; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; China; India; and Japan took the floor.
68. The Chair suggested that Members be given an opportunity to continue considering the information provided at our next meeting.
69. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/103, IP/C/M/103/Add.1, IP/C/M/Rev.1