Actas - Consejo de los ADPIC - Ver detalles de la intervención/declaración

Ambassador Eduardo Pérez Motta (Mexico)
222. The representative of Australia said that his delegation was conscious of the need to address the concerns relating to biopiracy expressed by many delegations and had responded comprehensively to them in its paper submitted to the TRIPS Council in 2001 and circulated as IP/C/W/310. In that paper Australia had pointed out that the problem of biopiracy should first be addressed through the implementation of effective systems at the national level for regulating access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing according to the CBD. He said that Australia, as an active participant under both treaties, did not consider that there was a conflict between the CBD and the TRIPS Agreement and that this position was based on Australia's status as a mega bio-diverse country, like many other participants in the debate, with a commitment to supporting an emerging biotechnology sector. With respect to national implementation, the Secretariat's comprehensive paper on the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD (JOB(02)/58) indicated that only four Members had made submissions on their national legislation, practices and experiences in the area of genetic resources and benefit-sharing. That was not surprising as few Members had put in place CBD-implementing systems. Therefore, there was very little practical administrative experience to draw upon in assessing their operational effectiveness. However, he was pleased with the information shared by the representative of Peru about her country's system and explained that the Australian draft regulations, as summarized in IP/C/W/310, also sought to ensure that the community shared in the benefits derived from the discovery of commercial uses of genetic material of Australian native plants, animals and micro-organisms and to provide certainty to industry and to researchers. A key element was the requirement for agreements between the person or company seeking access to biological resources and the provider of the resources, which Australia considered to be consistent with the CBD Bonn guidelines. He therefore urged Members to make submissions on national experiences as the Council sought practical solutions. With respect to the WIPO's IGC meeting held in June 2002, he pointed out two aspects which were relevant to the discussions in the TRIPS Council. Firstly, the IGC had agreed to establish a database of contractual practices and intellectual property clauses related to genetic resources. The contributions of government research institutes, community groups, corporations and other key stakeholders would, in his view, be useful in assessing the need for and the nature of any changes to national and international regimes. Secondly, members of the IGC agreed to contribute to a detailed programme work to assess the interrelationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD. The IGC would, among other items, analyse the impact of intellectual property regimes on access to and use of genetic resources and the efficacy of disclosures on country of origin and prior informed consent in monitoring compliance with access provisions. Australia believed that any attempt to amend the international intellectual property regime to enforce compliance with CBD obligations based on the preliminary information, which was still emerging, would be unusual in international practice and premature. Moreover, there was insufficient compelling evidence that national systems could not work effectively to combat biopiracy and, even if there was such evidence, other options, short of amending the conditions of patentability, could be used to address the problem. Such options could include measures to enhance information-sharing between patent offices or disclosure of the source of genetic material in patent applications. Australia appreciated the contributions contained in document IP/C/W/356 and looked forward to continued discussion in the TRIPS Council in accordance with the Doha mandate. In Australia's view, the substantial contributions from Members would enhance mutual understanding of the problems and would allow Members to consider possible solutions.