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

Mr. S. Harbinson (Hong Kong)
B Arrangements for Cooperation with WIPO
23. The representative of Canada said that in trying to ensure a constructive and cooperative relationship between the WTO and WIPO, the cart should not be put before the horse. It would be premature to discuss institutional arrangements, whether formal or informal, between the WTO and WIPO before the substantive questions had been dealt with as identified and referred to by previous speakers. First the activities to be undertaken had to be determined as well as the appropriate procedures for pursuing these activities. In tackling the questions of substance, the TRIPS Council had to take an efficient and practical approach and should, therefore, first discuss the issue of notification requirements. Another important area at this stage was technical cooperation. On the issue of notifications, the first order of business should be to reach consensus on what was really required in the relevant provisions of the TRIPS Agreement and what was the most sensible approach in meeting these requirements. Undoubtedly, this would involve consideration of whether existing WIPO facilities could be used in this respect. Of course, the WTO was not in a position to determine unilaterally what rôle WIPO might play. Options had to be discussed with WIPO and, at the appropriate stage, appropriate channels of communication had to be established. Informal channels of cooperation were already operative in a constructive way and should certainly continue, as the TRIPS Council might build on this cooperation when any arrangements needed to be formalized.