[Ip-health] Oxfam statement on the current negotiation to extend TRIPS waiver for LDCs

Mohga Kamal-Yanni mkamalyanni at Oxfam.org.uk
Wed Jun 5 15:06:12 PDT 2013

Oxfam statement on the position of the EU and US that hinders the request 
of the Least Developed Countries for unconditional extension of the 
transition period of TRIPS implementation 

Oxfam strongly condemns the tough and inflexible stance of the US and EU 
against the Least Developed Countries? (LDCs) request for a new transition 
to implement the World Trade Organisation (WTO) intellectual property 
rules (TRIPS agreement) in order to protect their development and health 

The Chair of the TRIPS Council to the WTO is currently holding informal 
consultations between developed countries and LDCs to negotiate the terms 
of the extension to the current transition period (due to expire on 30th 
June 2013). The LDCs have requested a transition period until a country 
ceases to be an LDC but the developed countries want to limit the duration 
period to less than 7.5 years. The US and the EU are also imposing a 
condition that requires LDCs to maintain existing levels of TRIPS 
compliance, even if these work against their development needs. These 
conditionalities are not required by the TRIPS agreement itself.

A short transition would not allow LDCs to develop the basic prerequisites 
(e.g. qualified personnel, a scientific and technological base, a 
functioning market, and regulatory systems) that could enable them to 
benefit from the TRIPS Agreement. 

LDCs (most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa) are the most vulnerable 
segment of the international community. More than half of the population 
in LDCs live on less than $1.25 per day. Pressuring LDCs to implement 
TRIPS before they acquire a viable technological base is counterproductive 
to their efforts to combat poverty. 

The early implementation of TRIPS agreement would also have a grave impact 
on access to medical technologies, educational resources, seeds and 
climate change adaptation technologies. This is why more than 300 
associations around the world and the industry group representing Google, 
Facebook and Microsoft (CCIA) are standing behind the LDCs proposal. 

Instituting TRIPS-compliant IP systems would be very expensive for LDCs 
(between $250,000 and $1 million, plus additional annual expenditures of 
up to $1 million.)
There are more pressing development needs that should be addressed with 
this money. 

?It is totally unacceptable that the US and EU oppose the LDCs? request 
for unconditional extension of the TRIPS waiver until a country ceases to 
be an LDC. The LDCs should be enabled to choose an IP system suitable for 
their development needs,? says Mohga Kamal-Yanni, senior health & HIV 
policy advisor at Oxfam.

Oxfam urges the developed countries especially the US and EU to adopt a 
more cooperative approach and secure a transition period that enables 
LDCs, for as long as they remain so, to determine the level of IP 
protection that best suits their development needs and goals. 

We also urge the LDCs to not give in to pressure from the US and EU and to 
stand firm by the legitimate demands they have made to the TRIPS Council. 

Best wishes 
Dr. Mohga M Kamal-Yanni
Senior health & HIV policy advisor
Oxfam GB
John Smith Drive, Oxford, OX4 2JY, UK
Tel:       + 44 (0) 1865 472290
UK Mobile   + 44 (0)777 62 55 884
Skype    Mohga Kamal-Yanni
Follow me @MohgaKamalYanni

Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering.

Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International and a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 612172.
Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.
A registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC 039042)

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