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

H.E. Ambassador Dagfinn Sørli (Norway)
World Trade Organization

201.   Document contains a full report on the technical assistance activities in the area of TRIPS that we undertook between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021. The structure of the report gives a general overview of the broad trends. The Annex gives a detailed account of activities delivered. There is a review of the overall trends, the resources available for technical cooperation and the specifics activities, as well as contributions to broader technical assistance activities that have TRIPS component. Coordination and cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations and other public stakeholders are of course important. We emphasize these partnerships and cooperation are integral to our work and are increasingly important and valuable. 202.   The technical cooperation activities, undertaken by the Secretariat under the aegis of TRIPS, have the objective of assisting Members and observers to meet their developmental and other domestic policy objectives, such as innovation and industrial policy, health, regulatory aspects, competition policy and environmental protection, in line with their domestic circumstances and priority needs. 203.   During the review period, the Secretariat's technical cooperation activities in relation to the TRIPS Agreement continued to focus on assisting Members and observers to understand their rights and obligations under the Agreement. Additionally, Members and observers continued to receive tailored assistance regarding notifications and reviews of national legislation. Activities are essentially driven by demand from developing country and least developed countries, as well as from governments preparing to accede to the WTO. 204.   A particular priority has been responding to the needs of Members in relation to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, in presenting the report, we stress the commitment of the WTO Secretariat to continue to respond to needs and priorities of Members, including more tailored support for Members or groups of Members and subject to their guidance. The WTO Secretariat continued to survey participants to gain insight on priority needs for technical capacity-building. Survey results in turn helped shape the content, design and delivery of the activities. We are grateful for guidance from Members, and aim to continue to shape and update technical assistance to meet their needs. 205.   In our capacity-building assistance to support Members responses to the pandemic, we underscore that complementarity and cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations are regular practice within Secretariat activities. In the spirit of an integrated approach to address the COVID-19 pandemic, on 15 June 2021, the Directors-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the WTO agreed to enhance their support to Members battling COVID-19 through a number of initiatives, including through practical workshops, to enhance the flow of updated information on current developments in the pandemic and responses to achieve equitable access to COVID-19 health technologies. The first of such workshops was held on 27 September, and focused on IP licensing, technology transfer, and sharing of know-how and clinical trial information. Work is also underway to implement a joint platform for a trilateral technical assistance, providing a one-stop shop that would make available the full range of expertise on access, IP and trade matters provided by the WHO, WIPO and WTO, and other partners, in a coordinated and systematic manner. Summary of activities 206.   Regarding a few overarching activities in the reporting period that may be of general interest to Members, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the TRIPS Agreement, the Secretariat held a series of webinars on various thematic issues. Additionally, to help respond to the continuing demand for interdisciplinary and integrated technical assistance on public health, trade and IP, the Secretariat designed and delivered a fiveweeklong Trade and Public Health Virtual Course with a Special Focus on the COVID-19 Pandemic in close collaboration with the WHO and WIPO Secretariats. 207.   Another seminal capacity-building activity this year included the annual workshop on the implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement: regarding incentives for technology transfer to LDCs. In our continuous efforts to improve the value and impact of this annual dialogue, this workshop for the first time with the guidance of LDCs, was devoted to four specific fields of technology transfer that are critical for sustainable development: namely, health, agriculture, environment and information and communication technology. 208.   Also, Members and Observers do continue to receive tailored technical assistance on request, including their participation in the transparency work of this Council, which has been stepped up in line with the opportunities provided by the e-TRIPS Submission System and the e-TRIPS Gateway. Technical cooperation resources 209.   Throughout the reporting period, with respect to the technical cooperation resources, the WTO produced an array of capacity-building materials. For instance, video recordings were produced that examine the relationship between TRIPS and biotechnology, IP and trade economics, trade in knowledge, to name a few. Further, the WIPO-WTO Colloquium journal series, which serves to strengthen relationship and dialogue between the academic community and policymakers, this was relaunched in a more accessible online format. We are pleased to let you know that would soon publish the African Edition of the Colloquium Papers, which features emerging research of particular relevance to that Region. 210.   In the area of public health, trade and IP, in the framework of trilateral cooperation, the WHO, WIPO and WTO launched an updated version of the Executive Distance Learning Course on Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation. This self-study distance learning course, designed after the 2020 Trilateral Study on "Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation, is a key component of our technical assistance on public health, trade and IP. During the reporting period, the Secretariat also published a WTO Staff Research Paper on "Patent-related actions taken in WTO Members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic". This Paper provides an overview of the patent landscape of medical treatments and technologies related to COVID-19, and also surveys patent-related actions taken by legislators, policymakers, industry sectors and a number of civil society organizations. 211.   As you can find in further detail in the report, the WTO and WIPO Secretariats also launched a book on competition policy and IP in today's global economy, which was established to provide an updated platform for technical assistance in this area. And, we have continued to create new and refine existing materials, including case studies, questionnaires, video recordings and presentations. WTO TA with TRIPS component 212.   Lastly, just to highlight that the WTO Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) organizes many activities that include a significant TRIPS component. During the reporting period, the WTO Secretariat continued to provide contents with IP component for these courses. Closing 213.   My closing remarks are to encourage Members to continue to consult with us on your priority needs for capacity-building. Finally, WTO resources would continue the analytical work under way. We would like to work very closely with Members to ensure that technical assistance, and also the empirical foundation of that work, is ever more strengthened at this very critical time for the international community and for individual Members.

77. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
70. The Chair recalled that in June 2021, the Council had agreed to hold the annual review of technical cooperation at the present meeting.
71. Developed country Members had been requested to update information on their technical and financial cooperation activities relevant to the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. Other Members who also made available technical cooperation were encouraged to share information on these activities. The Secretariat had issued an Airgram on 15 June 2021 reminding developed country Members of this request. Intergovernmental organizations observers to the Council and the WTO Secretariat had also been invited to provide information.
72. The Council had received information from the following developed country Members: Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda Norway has also submitted information in this regard. These reports are being circulated under the new dedicated document series with the symbol – where "R" stands for "Reports" and "TC" stands for "Technical Cooperation".
73. Intergovernmental organizations had also submitted updated information: the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Since the circulation of the revised draft agenda, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had also submitted information in this regard. Their reports were being circulated in the same document series observer]/.
74. The report of the WTO Secretariat on technical cooperation activities in the TRIPS area was available in document .
75. The representatives of Norway; Canada; Australia; the European Union; Switzerland; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; the United Kingdom; the United States; Japan; the WTO Secretariat; the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); and the World Health Organization (WHO) took the floor.
76. The Chair noted that most of the valuable information provided by Members and IGO observers had been received only very recently. He would provide delegations an opportunity at the next regular meeting to make further comments on the information submitted.
77. 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