WTO TRIPS Council (October 2014): Bangladesh statement (on behalf of LDCs)- Extension of the 2016 transition period

At the WTO TRIPS Council in October 2014, Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group, delivered the following intervention on “Extension of the Transition Period Under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement for Least-Developed Country Members for Certain Obligations with Respect to Pharmaceutical Products.” The current transition period incorporate two WTO decisions, TRIPS Council decision, IP/C/25 (Extension of the Transition Period under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement for Least-Developed Country Members for Certain Obligations with Respect to Pharmaceutical Products) and General Council Decision, WT/L/478, (Least-Developed Country Members — Obligations Under Article 70.9 of the TRIPS Agreement with Respect to Pharmaceutical Products).

Under TRIPS Council decision, IP/C/25, Extension of the Transition Period under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement for Least-Developed Country Members for Certain Obligations with Respect to Pharmaceutical Products, LDC members were not obliged, with respect to pharmaceutical products, to implement or apply Sections 5 (Patents) and 7 (Protection of Undisclosed Information) or to enforce rights provided for under these sections until 1 January 2016.

Under General Council decision, WT/L/478, “the obligations of least-developed country Members under paragraph 9 of Article 70 of the TRIPS Agreement shall be waived with respect to pharmaceutical products until 1 January 2016.”

In the October 2014 statement, the LDC group signals its intention to submit a proposal for the extension of the 2016 extension (with respect to certain obligations to pharmaceutical products). How this will complement the WTO decision (IP/C/64, 12 June 2013) to provide a general extension of the transition period till 1 July 2021 (the core text is provided below) is still an open question.

1. Least developed country Members shall not be required to apply the provisions of the Agreement, other than Articles 3, 4 and 5, until 1 July 2021, or until such a date on which they cease to be a least developed country Member, whichever date is earlier.

2. Recognizing the progress that least developed country Members have already made towards implementing the TRIPS Agreement, including in accordance with paragraph 5 of IP/C/40, least developed country Members express their determination to preserve and continue the progress towards implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. Nothing in this decision shall prevent least developed country Members from making full use of the flexibilities provided by the Agreement to address their needs, including to create a sound and viable technological base and to overcome their capacity constraints supported by, among other steps, implementation of Article 66.2 by developed country Members.

Here below is the LDC statement to the October 2014 TRIPS Council in full.


Mr. Chair

I speak on behalf of the LDC group.

Chair, You are aware that LDCs represent the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable group of the community of nations. With the poverty touching all aspects of life, the population have been suffering from, and are highly susceptible to different forms of diseases. As a result there are many other associated risks such as access to medicine and health services

Our Ministers in Doha recognized the gravity of the public health problems afflicting many developing and least-developed countries, especially those resulting from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics. They also agreed that the TRIPS Agreement did not and should not prevent Members from undertaking measures to protect public health.

While reiterating their commitment to the TRIPS Agreement, they affirmed that the Agreement could and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO Members’ right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.

We thank the members for adopting the decision IP/C/25 and WT/L/478. However we would like to note that these decisions are due to expire in 2016. This is notwithstanding the fact, not only we have not any sound and viable technological base, but we are also perpetual victims of epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak that has caused disaster among some our members.

We are working on a proposal and hope to submit it by the next sitting of this Council. We would like to request the Council take note of our intervention and include this item on the Agenda our next meeting. It is our strong and firm belief that members will respond positively to our humanitarian call.

I thank you.