20 October 2020. At the meeting of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on 15-16 October 2020, WTO members discussed, among other issues, the proposal presented by Chad on behalf of the LDC group for the extension of the transitional period for least developed countries (LDCs) to implement the TRIPS Agreement. From the WTO:
“TRIPS transition period for LDCs
Members discussed a request by Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group, to extend the general transitional period for LDCs to implement the TRIPS Agreement. This exemption has been previously extended on two occasions. On 29 November 2005, a TRIPS Council decision extended this general transition period until 1 July 2013. Subsequently on 11 June 2013, the Council renewed the transition period until 1 July 2021.
Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement states that in view of the special needs and requirements of LDCs, their economic, financial and administrative constraints, and their need for flexibility to create a viable technological base, they shall not be required to apply the provisions of the Agreement for a period that can be extended by the TRIPS Council upon a duly motivated request by an LDC.
Chad noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the challenges that the LDCs continue to face, such as lack of domestic financial resources, high debt levels and fragile health systems, which can have far-reaching impacts on education, human rights, employment, food security and economic development in the long term.
While a majority of members supported in principle the extension of the transition period for LDCs, others asked for more time to consult with their capital. The chair suggested that the LDC Group consult with other members in order to provide further explanations and to bridge differences as soon as possible given next year’s deadline.”
See also: “WTO TRIPS Council discusses major proposals from developing and least developed countries for waiving certain TRIPS obligations and extension of transition period for LDCs” South Centre, Southnews No. 347, 23 October 2020