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

Ambassador Chak Mun See (Singapore)
54. The representative of Australia said that her delegation while appreciating Zambia's intervention, would come back to Zambia's remarks after having studied them in detail. Turning to the Secretariat compilation, she said that this document highlighted the wide ranging and resourceful ways through which Members had provided incentives for technology transfer to least-developed countries. In line with Article 1.1 of the TRIPS Agreement, Members had given effect to their obligations in different ways reflecting the need for a flexible and workable approach to technology transfer. Referring to a paper by Korea circulated as document WT/WGTI/W/82 in the Working Group on the Relationship between Trade and Investment, which drew on Korea's noteworthy experience in transfer of technology, she said that this document broadly supported Australia's position on Article 66.2 and quoted the conclusion of the Korean paper that "[d]omestic policies designed to improve the technology-related investment environment are important to attract FDI and enhance a country’s ability to absorb new technologies. However, such policies must fall short of imposing technology transfer requirements on foreign investors. The main problem with mandatory requirements is that they are not conducive to transfers of the best technologies or technologies that are needed. Indeed, foreign investors subject to these requirements will often prefer to transfer low-level technologies which may not be necessarily what the host economy needs. […] Korea’s experience has proven that a free-hand approach is better than imposing technology transfer requirements […]. Such free-hand approach […] must be supplemented by the host economy’s effort […] to improve its investment environment […]."