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

Ambassador Karen Tan (Singapore)
108. The representative of Bangladesh said that, as a founding Member of the WTO, Bangladesh was a signatory to the TRIPS Agreement. When Bangladesh had signed the Agreement it had not realized the extent of its obligations. Now as things were unfolding gradually, it had started to realize the difficulties. It was easy to see trade in agricultural and non-agricultural goods and even in services, but it was not that easy to discern trade-related intellectual property rights. However, he believed that even LDCs had an obligation to implement the TRIPS Agreement, taking into account the flexibilities they were entitled to. 109. He thanked the Secretariat for selecting Bangladesh as a possible venue for the subregional workshop on TRIPS needs assessment. As far as TRIPS obligations were concerned, the LDCs did not have any lack of willingness: the problem was lack of capacity. To enable them to comply with the TRIPS obligations, appropriate technical assistance, without conditions, was needed. Moreover, technical cooperation to LDCs should not hinge on the degree of compliance with the TRIPS Agreement. LDCs needed policy space and flexibilities to implement the TRIPS Agreement phase by phase. LDCs deserved the utmost attention of Members to address their supply side constraints. 110. Bangladesh had identified some areas where it needed technical cooperation to achieve its objectives. It intended to develop its own infrastructure and strengthen its financial and administrative capacities to encourage research and innovation and enforce IP rights. It needed to develop an IP policy, formulate or strengthen some of the existing laws to make them TRIPS-compliant, restructure its institutions, and undertake training and awareness building programmes among the policy makers, IP enforcing agencies and consumers. Apart from those, Bangladesh needed to preserve its genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore with a view to gaining from commercialization of these resources. For that, Bangladesh needed the support of the international community. 111. In view of their special needs and requirements, their economic, financial and administrative constraints, and their need for flexibility to create a viable technological base, LDCs had not been required to apply the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, other than Articles 3, 4 and 5, for a period of 10 years, i.e. until 31 December 2005. Unfortunately, the special situation of LDCs had not improved much by the 2005 deadline. Therefore, by a decision of 29 November 2005, the TRIPS Council had granted a further extension of the transition period up to 1 July 2013 on the basis of duly motivated requests of LDCs (document IP/C/40). 112. In accordance with paragraph 2 of this decision, LDCs were to provide as much information as possible, preferably by 1 January 2008, on their individual priority needs for facilitating targeted technical and financial cooperation. In fulfilment of this obligation, Bangladesh was pleased to submit its TRIPS needs assessment to the WTO, following the good examples of Uganda and Sierra Leone. 113. In the WTO, technical cooperation was a core element of the development dimension. Under the TRIPS Council decision of 29 November 2005, developed country Members were to provide technical and financial cooperation in favour of LDC Members in accordance with Article 67 of the TRIPS Agreement in order to effectively address the needs identified in accordance with paragraph 2 of the decision. Technical cooperation was more than helping needs assessment and should include, but should not be limited to, assistance in the preparation of laws and regulations on the protection and enforcement of IP rights as well as on the prevention of their abuse, and support regarding the establishment or reinforcement of domestic offices and agencies relevant to those matters, including training of personnel. 114. Bangladesh did not have a stand-alone IP Policy. It had inherited a set of IP laws and rules from the colonial regime. After independence in 1971, it had adopted those laws and rules and had amended or updated some of them. In its submission, it had given a brief description of the IP laws and rules that existed in Bangladesh and their level of consistence with the TRIPS Agreement, as mentioned in Annex 1 to the document. It had also proposed a comprehensive action matrix that it intended to follow to ensure a TRIPS-consistent IP regime, which was contained in Annex 2. In the action matrix, it had delineated the present position, action needed and expected outcome in the following areas: IP policy, technology transfer, laws and regulations, strengthening of IP institutions, awareness raising, IP enforcement, IP negotiation, and protection of folklore, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions etc. In part (vii) of its submission, Bangladesh had identified ten projects, amounting to only US$71.04 million, which should be good candidates for technical and financial assistance from development partners as a bare minimum to implement the TRIPS Agreement in Bangladesh. Bangladesh looked forward to eagerly engaging with them in the not-too-distant future. 115. Technology transfer would play a vital role in enhancing the overall productive capacity including TRIPS compliance of Bangladesh. TRIPS Article 66.2 mandated developed country Members to provide incentives to enterprises and institutions in their territories for the purpose of promoting and encouraging technology transfer to LDC Members in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base. Unfortunately, Bangladesh was not yet enabled to create a sound and viable technological base as envisaged in that provision. Bangladesh sincerely intended to use the transition period to create an enabling environment to comply with TRIPS obligations and integrate into the multilateral trading system. Technical cooperation alone could not do the trick. Technical cooperation and technology transfer needed to be combined within the extended transition period to create a viable technological base. Otherwise, at the end of the current transition period, Bangladesh might find itself in a situation that would warrant it to seek further extensions which was not its intention. 116. Bangladesh had tried to fulfil its obligation to submit a needs assessment report with its own resources albeit a little late. It had tried to give as much information as possible, and would try to give further information if the situation so demanded. Now it was the turn of developed country Members to fulfil their obligation. Bangladesh looked forward to an active engagement with WTO Members and other development partners which would contribute to its objective of fulfilling its TRIPS obligations incrementally as mentioned in the needs assessment.