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January 16, 2003
Question: [unintelligible] were there any concerns that were raised by the Africans, and is it correct to say that you are pushing for a African-American [unintelligible]?
USTR Zoellick: Well certainly there were concerns raised, I mean that’s the nature of the discussion. So whether it be capacity building, we had a good discussion on TRIPS and medicine. And one of the problems we run into, is that, you know for a number of African capitals, they get their information about this from NGO’s, and NGO’s sometimes don’t represent our position carefully. And so I had a number of African Ministers come up and say “we’re really pleased to understand what you are trying to do.” Because I was pointing out that the problem that we saw on that issue was that, more and more countries wanted to have the ability to import from third countries, which was what this was about, including countries that have very strong pharmaceutical industries. And so you expand it, the set of countries that were supposed to use this special privilege, to about 120. And then some countries wanted to expand the scope of disease. So if you take what’s supposed to be an exception for special circumstance, expand it to almost every country except the OECD countries, and then you expand it to every disease, you’ve kind of blown a hole in the whole intellectual property regime. And for example, Minister Malie of Lesotho, said that’s certainly not their intention, because they understand the role of intellectual property.
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