Dialogue on The TRIPS LDC Extension: The Way Forward
In 2005, the TRIPS Council extended the transition period for LDCs to apply the bulk of TRIPS provisions until July 2013. The council called on LDCs to identify their priority needs for technical and financial cooperation and asked developed countries to help to address these needs. Previously, in 2001, the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health had already extended the period for LDCs to comply with provisions on pharmaceuticals to 2016. At the Eighth WTO Ministerial Conference of December 2011, the ministers invited the TRIPS Council to give full consideration to a duly motivated request from LDCs for a further extension. In this context, Haiti submitted a proposal to the TRIPS Council, in November 2012, that would extend the period for such members to implement the TRIPS Agreement until a given country “cease[s] to be a least developed country member.”
While most countries agree in principle with an extension, there still are disagreements about the modalities of such a measure including on issues related to time frame and scope. The topic will be examined at the upcoming TRIPS Council meeting in June of this year, ahead of the July 2013 deadline. This informal dialogue aims to bring together negotiators and experts to brainstorm options for the way forward and their potential implications.