[Ip-health] India backs LDCs' request for extension of transition period for TRIPS Agreement

Gopa Kumar kumargopakm at gmail.com
Wed Mar 6 22:01:11 PST 2013

India backs LDCs' request for extension of transition period for TRIPS
AgreementRamesh Shankar, Mumbai, *Thursday, March 07, 2013, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Even as the TRIPS Council in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has begun a
crucial meeting to take a call on the issue of Least Developed Countries
(LDCs)'s request for extension of transition period for implementation of
TRIPS Agreement, India has supported the LDCs' request for further
extension under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement.

Supporting the LDCs' request for extension of transition period, Indian
delegation said that the request is a comprehensive one, highlighting the
vulnerability of their poor population, marginal role their economies still
play in the world trade and very limited productive capacity and
technological infrastructure that can transform these economies.

'Realising the lacunae in the earlier decision and with the mandatory and
independent nature of Article 66.1, India supports the extension under
TRIPS Art 66.1 that reflects the motivated request made by the LDCs during
the last meeting of TRIPS Council. We feel that this issue is of utmost
importance to the LDCs and we would like to assure our full co-operation
and active engagement in future discussions on this issue', Indian
delegation at the TRIPS Council in the WTO said.

In fact, the framers of the TRIPS Agreement rightly understood the special
needs of the LDC members and in the preamble to the Agreement they
recognised their need for maximum flexibility in the domestic
implementation of laws and regulations in order to enable them to create a
sound and viable technological base. Article 66.1 of the Agreement further
reiterates the special needs of the LDCs along with their economic,
financial and administrative constraints to develop a viable technological
base and therefore mandates the TRIPS Council to grant them an extension
from the obligations of the Agreement on the basis of a motivated request.
The provisions of Article 66.1 are precise and provide no discretion to the
TRIPS Council to either deny the request or impose any further conditions
on the LDCs, the Indian representatives said.

The last extension that was given to the LDCs in 2005 is expiring on July
1, 2013. It was an extension for a limited period of seven and a half years
with an obligation on the LDCs to submit Priority needs to meet the
objectives of Article 67 of the TRIPS Agreement.

Earlier, hundreds of civil society groups, concerned with access to
medicines, had urged the members of the WTO to honour their obligation
under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement and unconditionally accord to the
LDC the requested extension of the LDC transition period for implementation
of TRIPS Agreement.

There was a growing recognition among these groups and others that TRIPS
Rules will undermine human rights, development and health in developing
countries and this would be starkest if people in LDCs--the most vulnerable
economies in the world--were suddenly required to provide and maintain
monopolies on essential goods.


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