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

H.E. Ambassador Dr Lansana GBERIE

255.   The enthusiasm and spirit of solidarity that Members exhibited to achieve the outcome on TRIPS at MC12, regrettably, could not be sustained for long, it seems. On paragraph 8 of the MC12 Decision, all we could achieve within the stipulated six months was to decide to extend the timeline. As we are aware, the polycrisis is disproportionately impacting the developing countries, including LDCs. Uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, the persistent inequities on access and affordability of therapeutics and diagnostics exacerbate these vulnerabilities and continue to challenge the global recovery, especially for developing countries including the LDCs, making it crucial to enable and empower these countries to combat the health crisis. We seem to ignore the warnings that pandemics similar to COVID-19 could be a more frequent occurrence as we face increased risk from emerging pathogens due to enhanced globalization and other factors. We at the World Trade Organization (WTO) however, could not deliver and respond timely in contributing to global interventions for combating COVID-19. And the longer it takes for us to decide, the less efficacious the outcome will be, as we have seen with the Decision on vaccines. 256.   Though we note that one Member is undertaking an internal analysis on this issue, it does not limit in any way other Members to engage at the Council for TRIPS for striving to achieve a common understanding. This will make effective use of the period up to October 2023 and enable us to build consensus to deliver on this issue. In this regard, our submission contained in document IP/C/W/694, the decision text, is a good place to begin the conversation. The protracted discussions on this matter in unprecedented times like these, underscore the need for mechanisms that help deal with future emergencies in a timely and effective manner. We hope to see substantive discussions and good faith engagement in this regard as well at the Council for TRIPS.

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