8. The representative of Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Members of the WTO, referred to Article 68 of the TRIPS Agreement and said that the African countries attached great importance to the establishment of an ad hoc informal WIPO/WTO Consultation Group as referred to by the representative of WIPO, which they had also emphasized at the WIPO meeting of 8 February 1995. Cooperation between the two Organizations had to be encouraged in order to avoid duplication of efforts and waste of resources. The African countries recognized that the Uruguay Round negotiations had resulted in the most extensive package of trade agreements ever achieved in the history of GATT in terms of scope, complexity and impact on the international trading environment as well as on national policies and that they were now more than ever called upon to adapt to the higher level of multilateral disciplines in this new environment. They also had to identify, and take advantage of, the possibilities that the new trading system offered, and were aware of the implications of the TRIPS Agreement, of its impact on the world economy and of the need to adapt to the new environment resulting from its entry into force. In this respect, he noted that the African Ministers of Trade had met in Tunis in October 1994 and examined the results of the Uruguay Round negotiations and their consequences for the African economies. The Ministers had expressed the need for technical assistance in order to facilitate the implementation of the various agreements which together formed the results of the Uruguay Round and had requested the competent international organizations and agencies, in particular the WTO, to draw up programmes and policies in order to take up the challenge arising from the implementation of the Marrakesh Agreement. Tunisia had been entrusted with the coordination and the follow-up of technical assistance programmes with the WTO and other international organizations involved in international trade.
9. Continuing, the representative of Tunisia said that the African countries were aware of the need for harmonization of national legislation and its adaptation to the new requirements, and to facilitate the notification of this legislation and to ensure the transparency required through the TRIPS Agreement. However, their young national administrations were not always equipped to achieve what was asked of them in this respect. Therefore, duplication of efforts and unnecessary overlapping should be avoided. In their view, the establishment of an ad hoc informal group on, and the drawing up of an arrangement for, cooperation between the WTO and WIPO could only facilitate the attainment of these objectives. In the meantime, and without prejudice to the outcome of consultations between the two Organizations, two realistic areas for cooperation could be mentioned, namely the notification of national laws and regulations and technical cooperation. He also emphasized that technical assistance activities should not be limited to legal advice, but should also extend to the establishment of administrative infrastructures, the enhancement of human resources and the consolidation of national structures so that required functions could be fulfilled in the best possible way. The African countries attached the highest priority to these issues. In conclusion, he wished to reaffirm their commitment to a continued active participation in the work of the Council for TRIPS in order to promote consensus on these matters of major interest to all.