69. The representative of South Africa said that, in the view of his delegation, the Chairman had succeeded in finding a solution that the majority of Members could agree with in the text of 16 December 2002 and that only one or two countries had not agreed to that text. He affirmed that his delegation had tried and would continue to try to make those that were still outside this consensus join the majority of Members and to participate in a multilateral solution. His delegation considered the text of 16 December to be a finely balanced solution in which everyone had had to make some concessions and was of the opinion that the text represented the best solution that could be achieved in the WTO.
70. He expressed gratitude to those Members that had made efforts to extend the consensus to those that still remained outside, particularly the European Communities and Japan. He also referred to a Chairman's statement that had been floated informally. However, he said that these proposals had tended to undermine both the spirit and the letter of the Declaration, particularly with respect to the scope of diseases. His delegation had studied the informal Chairman's statement carefully but was of the opinion that the effect of this proposal would be to reduce the circumstances in which some countries, particularly the less developed countries without manufacturing capacity, would be able to utilise the mechanism. Consequently, his delegation took the view that those efforts had not been very helpful in finding a solution.
71. The real issue that had to be focused on was that one or two countries which had failed to support the 16 December text had done so mainly because they had been held back by the pharmaceutical industry. Consequently, South Africa had been engaging with the industry and had urged it to support the United States in joining the consensus and in participating in a multilateral system. He said that his delegation had suggested that this was the best possible consensus that could be achieved and that holding back a consensus in the WTO might begin to unravel the TRIPS Agreement itself. He reminded Members of the statement by the Holy See on 20 December 2002 that the TRIPS Agreement was, in fact, a social contract under which everybody had rights and obligations. He said that the industry too had an obligation to contribute to its side of the bargain. Therefore, his delegation suggested, as it had done before, to freeze the 16 December text and not to hold any further discussion on the issue until the pharmaceutical industry had been successfully persuaded to join the consensus. His delegation considered this to be the only way forward as otherwise Members would run the risk of unravelling the entire text completely.