TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Dec17/27)
14 December 2017
Third World Network

India+4 link moratoriums on e-commerce, TRIPS NV and CBD
Published in SUNS #8596 dated 14 December 2017

Buenos Aires, 13 Dec (D. Ravi Kanth) - India today (13 December) insisted at the Buenos Aires ministerial meeting that the moratorium on electronic commerce transmissions (zero tariffs) must include the moratorium on the TRIPS non-violation (NV) complaints and a work program on the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), trade envoys told SUNS.

India's decision was supported by South Africa, Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela.

However, continuing her dictatorial style, MC11 chair, Ms Susana Malcorra, failed to include the four other countries when she said only India remains opposed to the extension of the moratorium on electronic commerce transmissions, according to a participant present at the meeting.

India, however, remained steadfast in its demand to treat all the three issues on the same footing, the participant said.

At a meeting convened by the Chair for resolving the differences on the e-commerce moratorium, India said "the TRIPS and the CBD must be implemented in a manner which is mutually supportive and does not run counter to their respective objectives."

India underscored the need for the "fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources", and said there is an urgent need to ensure that the utilization of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge must comply with access and benefit-sharing legislation of the member providing genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge, that is the country of the origin of such resources or a Member that has acquired genetic resources in accordance with the CBD.

Therefore, said India, the TRIPS Council must hold dedicated discussions "on the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity and the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore."

India said trade ministers at Buenos Aires must direct their officials to "expedite discussions on the relationship between TRIPS agreement and the CBD in a structured manner with a view of achieving a legally binding outcome by the twelfth ministerial conference in 2019."

The draft ministerial decision says that in undertaking this work, the TRIPS Council shall be guided by the objectives and principles set out in Articles 7 and 8 of the TRIPS Agreement and shall take fully into account the development dimension.

India said the negotiations on the TRIPS-CBD shall be held in the special negotiating session of the TRIPS Council in an accelerated frame.

India's decision to link the three issues stalled an outcome on the e-commerce zero-tariff moratorium, said a trade envoy from an industrialized country who asked not to be quoted.