[Ip-health] Oxfam statement on the TRIP Council decision on LDCs waiver

Mohga Kamal-Yanni mkamalyanni at oxfam.org.uk
Tue Jun 11 07:36:48 PDT 2013

Oxfam reaction to the WTO decision on the extension of the transition 
period of TRIPS implementation to LDCs
Rich countries? ideological approach to intellectual property takes 
precedence over the needs of poor nations

Geneva, 11 June 2013 - The poorest nations in the world succeeded in 
securing a deal to extend the transition period on the implementation of 
Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) after months 
of intense negotiations and immense pressure from the rich countries. 
Today, WTO members have agreed  to provide the Least Developed Countries 
(LDCs) with a renewable transition period of 8 years to implement the 
TRIPS agreement. The current extension was due to expire on 30th June 

Oxfam welcomes this decision which is a recognition of LDCs determination 
to protect the interest of their citizens against the opposition of the US 
and EU. However, the transition period granted falls short of the LDCs? 
request for extension until a country ceases to be an LDC. 

An early implementation of the TRIPS agreement would have a grave impact 
on access to medical technologies, educational resources, seeds and 
climate change adaptation technologies. LDCs need enough time to build a 
technological and knowledge base, as well as a strong regulatory framework 
before they can implement - let alone benefit - from TRIPS.  Therefore, 
LDCs need the flexibility to design IP and innovation policies appropriate 
to their policy priorities and level of economic development. LDCs are the 
most vulnerable part of the international community. More than half of the 
population in LDCs live on less than $1.25 per day. 

Rich countries, led by the US and EU, have consistently tried to water 
down the original LDCs request for an extension, pushing for a short term 
extension and requiring LDCs to maintain existing levels of TRIPS 
compliance, even if these work against their development needs. 

The LDCs requested unconditional extension until a country ceases to be an 
LDC but rich countries opposed this request. This opposition was totally 
unfair and unnecessary. Instead, the LDCs should be enabled  to choose IP 
system suitable for their development needs. It is shameful for the US and 
EC to push for conditionalities that are not required by the TRIPS 
agreement itself. 

For more information, please contact:
Mohga Kamal Yanni : mkamalyanni at oxfam.org.uk +44 7776255884

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.

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Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.
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