Thursday, 5 August, 2021

Extension of transition period demanded


By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, June 9: Nepali Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have called for the extension of transition period for the implementation of the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
The CSOs have called on the Chair of the TRIPS Council, United States Trade Representative and the Commissioner of the European Commission in Geneva to urgently and unequivocally support the LDCs’ request to extend the transition period for the implementation of the Agreement on TRIPS of the WTO.
The current transition period provided to LDCs to implement the TRIPS Agreement, other than for pharmaceuticals, is expiring next month (1 July 2021), said a joint statement issued by the CSOs.
LDCs’ request is in accordance with Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement, which states, “Council for TRIPS shall, upon duly motivated request by a least-developed country member, accord extensions of this period.”
Even before the COVID crisis, LDCs faced severe constraints, such as limited availability of skilled labour, productive capacities, access to secondary education, electricity, and internet access, read the statement.
The basic conditions to benefit from full TRIPS implementation are mostly absent in LDCs. They also lack affordable access to knowledge-based goods crucial for sustainable development such as access to health products including for COVID-19 such as ventilators, educational materials, green technologies, etc., they said. .
Chad, on behalf of the LDC members of the WTO, had proposed for the extension of the transition period in October last year. However, even after eight months since the request was made, the WTO TRIPS Council has not yet agreed to the LDCs’ request, more so at a time of unprecedented global crisis, with the most vulnerable bearing the worst impact. The US and the EU are yet to agree to the request.
The 11 organisations making the call include Centre for South Asian Studies, LDC Watch, South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, Women’s Rehabilitation Centre, Pro-Public, LI-BIRD, Niti Foundation, CSRC, ECARDS-Nepal, LEADERS and Forward Nepal.