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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Lansana GBERIE

242.   My delegation would like to echo the statement of our colleagues from Tanzania and South Africa. On that note we also refer to our previous statements on this agenda item. COVID19 has inevitably shown the spectacular gap of inequality in and between countries, with an unprecedented worsening of poverty, particularly in developing countries. 243.   It further revealed that despite how interconnected we are, the asymmetries among countries run deep. Such asymmetries can be seen in aspects such as mobilizing resources to deal with and recover from the crisis. Another example is in terms of getting equitable and affordable access to vaccines and relevant countermeasures. 244.   In this institution, we talk about development as a horizontal and cross-cutting issue and how the WTO could play a role in maintaining a path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, the response to and recovery from COVID-19 and the execution of the right to development are intrinsically linked and should support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. 245.   The Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement has been an important catalyst for our government to further carry out the development of mRNA vaccines. This is conducted through government-to-government and government-to-business cooperation, which includes provisions on technological transfer for mRNA production. 246.   In this regard, it is our hope that the extension of the TRIPS waiver could further support developing countries to further develop and gain access to the much-needed COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics, especially in the view of pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response. This is also in line with growing acknowledgement of the importance of ensuring equitable and universal access to safe, affordable, quality and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, as stated in the G20 Bali Leaders Declaration agreed to last year. 247.   But even if some Members have not utilized the Decision as argued, that does not negate the importance of having sufficient policy space at hand in times of emergency. To illustrate this point, just because an airline has not experienced an accident, does not mean that they can take away the life jacket prepared for each passenger. 248.   Having said that, solving vaccine availability, accessibility and affordability is not enough. As we have stated again and again, COVID-19 countermeasures also include therapeutics and diagnostics. Without these, we only give the world a half-hearted solution at best. 249.   With this in mind, Indonesia would like to reiterate our suggestions for this issue moving forward:  One, the Council for TRIPS shall continue to conduct substantive discussions on extension to cover therapeutics and diagnostics. These discussions, whether in formal or informal settings, should be guided by WHO as the leading actor in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  Two, in the interim, Members that are conducting domestic consultations must update the membership on a regular basis.  Three, to avoid a prolonged negotiation, it is necessary to be equipped with a triggerready mechanism to deal with future pandemics. The TRIPS Council, in this regard, will need to urgently engage on this issue on the basis of submissions by Members. 250.   Indonesia stands ready to work with other Members constructively.

60. The Council so agreed.
56. The Chair recalled that under paragraph 8 of the Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement, adopted on 17 June 2022, Members had agreed to make a decision within six months from adoption, on whether to extend this Decision to cover the production and supply of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. He also recalled that at the last formal meeting in October – and resumed in December – the Council had recommended to the General Council to extend the deadline for such a decision. The General Council, at its meeting on 19 December 2022, had agreed to this recommendation and resolved to return to the question of the duration of the extension at its next meeting. At its recent meeting on 6-7 March 2023, the General Council had agreed that it would keep the question of the duration of the extension on its agenda again for its next meeting – and that Members would provide updates on where they stand on their internal processes. In the meantime, substantive discussions would continue in the Council for TRIPS. It was against this background, that the item was on the Council's agenda.
57. The representatives of Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group; South Africa; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group; Nepal; Egypt; Kenya, on behalf of the ACP Group; Indonesia; China; India; the United States of America; Brazil; Switzerland; Japan; the United Kingdom; Chinese Taipei; the European Union; Korea, Republic of; Singapore; and Norway took the floor.
58. With respect to next steps, the Chair said that in his experience, Council discussions were most constructive when they were well prepared and took place on the basis of submissions and proposals that Members had been able to study in advance. The 10-day rule for the closing of the Airgram was intended precisely for that purpose, namely, to allow Members to prepare for the items on the agenda, so that discussions at the Council meeting were constructive and focused. The next formal meeting of the Council was scheduled for 14-15 June – and the agenda for that meeting would close on 1 June.
59. Given that his term as Chair ended with the current meeting, he suggested that the new Chair be invited to consult with Members on how best to move forward with work under this agenda item.
60. The Council so agreed.
IP/C/M/107, IP/C/M/107/Add.1