Events at the TRIPS Council on December 17, 2002

I'm too tired to give a complete account, but basically, the TRIPS Council met, and most countries indicated they could live with the Motta 16 December 2002 text of the deal. Privately, virtually every developing country I talked to, in Africa, Asia and Latin America, hated the system, and was wishing someone else would take the leadership to kill it. No one thought it would benefit patients. But there was a lot of showmanship regarding, our country is flexiable, we can accomodate this inperfect text, etc, ......

Africans indicated the Asian and Latin American countries had forced their hands, and the Asian and Latin American countries indicated the Africans had forced their hands. WTO DG Supachai wrote an article in the FT, where he basically took the PhRMA position on paragraph 6, on scope of diseases. and like USTR's Rosa Whitaker, he suggested this was linked to progress on argiculture trade talks. He also reportedly leaned on ASEAN members to shut up and accept the Motta text.

Fortunately, the USA was willing to kill the text, of course for the wrong reasons. The US Geneva Ambassador Linnet Deiley apparently explained to the TRIPS Council that the US had to insist on some clarifications, because apparently some people were suggesting people read the text of the actual Doha Declaration, and this was giving people the wrong impression. According to Deiley, despite what the text of the Declaration says, what was more important was what they were actually thinking. And Deiley knows that they were always thinking about limits on the scope of diseases, more or less, or I guess exactly along the lines of what PhRMA wanted. So the US blocked the adoption of the Motta text, until the CEO's of a handful of US pharma companies can rewrite the Doha Declaration in an acceptable form.

And nearly everyone from the NGOs and developing countries were relieved that the US blocked the unpopular 16 December Motta text. Except those who apparently imagine the text can actually get worse. The US was willing to take the blame for blocking the text, clearly no one else was.

The next "drop dead" date on this is Friday, the 20th.

James Love
+41 79 569 6022

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