Monday 10 June 2013

Afro Ng'ombe

Update on TRIPs Extension Battle

EAC logo Background: For those who haven’t been following the story, there is currently a proposal on the table to the TRIPs Council requesting a that LDC’s be permanently exempted from complying with certain provisions of TRIPs until those countries are no longer designated as Least-Developed Countries.  For more information see this post.

Afro Leo recently learned that the East African Legislative Assembly, of the East African Community, has issued a resolution expressing it’s support for the permanent transition period.  The Legislative Assembly sites the East African Treaty’s agreement to promote the quality of health in the EAC. Specifically, Article 118 (e) agrees to harmonize national health policies.  Since four of the five EAC member countries are currently LDCs, the Legislative Assembly has a strong interest in supporting a position deemed critical to most of its members.

The Legislative Assembly also cites to the TRIPs agreement itself, pointing out the acknowledged importance of technical innovation and the agreement to allow members to enact measures for the purpose of protecting public health.  The Legislative Assembly is concerned that if the extension expires, LDCs will lose their ability to access technologies, educational resources and other development tools.

The final provision of the resolution chastises the United States and European Union for attempting to limit the LDC flexibilities built into TRIPs.  What kind of effect will this resolution have on the TRIPS Council decision?  Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Full resolution available in pdf here.

Afro Ng'ombe

Afro Ng'ombe

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