The present document reproduces the information on the European Communities and their member States' implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement, which has been received from the Permanent Delegation of the European Commission by means of a communication dated 27 November 2002.
This document is circulated in accordance with the Decision of the Ministerial Conference, dated 14 November 2001, regarding implementation-related issues and concerns. According to paragraph 11.2 of the Decision, developed country Members committed themselves to submit, prior to the end of 2002, detailed reports on the functioning in practice of the incentives provided to their enterprises for the transfer of technology to least developed country Members in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2.
This cover note is followed by a series of forms presenting the existing incentives to technology transfer. In the European Communities (EC), these are given both at Communities' level and by member States. In view of this, the notification is divided into two parts. The first part of the notification deals with incentives given by the European Communities; the second part covers incentives given by individual member States (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). Further information on the initiatives taken by the remaining member States of the EC will be distributed as supplements to this document.
SCOPE AND NATURE OF INFORMATION PROVIDED
Technology transfer refers here to the ways and means through which companies and organizations acquire technology from foreign sources. There are several types of technologies as well as several channels of transmission. Indeed, the acquisition by least developed countries (LDCs) of a sound and viable technological base does not depend solely on the provision of physical objects or equipment, but also on the acquisition of know-how, on management and production skills, as well as on improved access to knowledge sources.
It is clear that the private - and particularly the commercial - sector is nowadays the main source of technologies and, in this context, technology transfer is often one component of a more complex project, rather than a stand alone activity.
A privileged channel for technology transfer, including transfer of know-how, is foreign direct investment (FDI); joint research projects between private and/or public partners are also important in helping LDCs to benefit from technologies and adapt them to their specific needs; access to the right partners, to information and to expertise are key at all stages.
In their efforts to encourage and promote technology transfer, developed country governments are usually limited by two factors: (1) they do not own the vast majority of such technologies; (2) they cannot force the private sector to transfer its technologies.
Incentives can therefore only take the form of encouragement, promotion and facilitation of the (potentially) most fruitful projects. They shall be part of a global and comprehensive approach of development.
Against this background, the European Communities consider that relevant incentives can be identified as those that:
Objective 1: promote projects such as direct investment, licensing, franchising, sub contracting, etc.
Objective 2: improve access to available techniques and industrial processes;
Objective 3: support joint research projects;
Objective 4: provide training in technology management and production methods;
Objective 5: more indirectly, improve the absorption capacity of LDCs (capacity building).
The attached forms illustrate the efforts made by the European Communities to promote and encourage technology transfer. They describe only incentives that have a strong link with at least one of the aforementioned objectives and, with a few exceptions, which concentrate on European enterprises and institutions.
In addition, most countries and regions benefit from allocations for private sector development included in their national or regional co-operation programmes.
Finally, it should be borne in mind that no technology transfer programme is specifically dedicated to least-developed countries as such. The European Communities initiatives are usually specific to countries/groups of countries/regions, since the European Communities strongly support regional integration, which fosters better understanding and political and economic links between neighbouring countries. However, the European Communities approach to the allocation of aid and incentives pays particular attention to the situation of the least-developed and other low income countries.