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World Trade Organization General Council Nov 2023: UK Statement

Item 2: Reform and TRIPS 

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Madam Chair, you said we should not really get into the detail of reform, as we will cover that this afternoon, so I will try not to. One point to pick is the point about deconflicting meetings which I know is so important for so many smaller delegations. It is one that we have brought forward in our own proposals and I think it is one that we need to keep on thinking about to ensure that we are a genuinely inclusive organization, not just in words but in deed.

Let me just say a quick word about TRIPS. My Swiss colleague has set out in substance far more eloquently than I could and I endorse every word he has said.

I want to acknowledge first of all the continued efforts of our TRIPS Chair and let me welcome her efforts and the Secretariat’s to move our discussions forward. Let me also acknowledge the arrival of the report from the US ITC. Like others I’m sure we are still analysing the information that is contained in that report but for us it reaffirms the importance of known issues, including on this issue, including the role of voluntary licenses where the UK issued a paper, in increasing affordability and access to COVID-19 products and technologies globally. I hope everybody has seen our paper on this which looks at how we can build on that in future pandemic preparedness.

I just wanted to recognise that access issues go well beyond intellectual property and that considering broader factors in reactors should help us as we look at whether the decision that we took back at MC12 should indeed be extended to therapeutics and diagnostics. Let me also just encourage my fellow members, particularly those from developing countries and LDCs, to come to us to give us their thoughts on our paper, share their national experiences and challenges that they have faced in voluntary licensing and technology transfer partnerships, so that we can try and take forward our work in a structured and collaborative manner.

Lastly, a number of colleagues this morning have said that not taking a decision will be a real issue for this organisation. I think that there is something worse than not taking a decision and that is taking the wrong decision for this organisation, for the intellectual property which is the basis for our innovative economies, and taking the wrong decision for our future pandemic preparedness.

Thank you.

Item 3: Work programme on Small Economies – Report by the Chairperson of the Dedicated Session of the Committee on Trade and Development

Thank you very much Chair. 

We wanted to come in quickly to recognize the importance of this issue. We really wanted to welcome the excellent Small Economies evidence sharing session and to thank the Chair, the Secretariat and everybody that inputted to the session.

We are also looking forward to the opportunity to review the draft ministerial decision on this issue at the upcoming session.

Thank you very much.

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