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Dagfinn Sørli - Photo:Photo: WTO
Photo: WTO

Ambassador to the WTO, Dagfinn Sørli, elected Chair of the TRIPS Council on 11th March 2021

The TRIPS Council is the body legally responsible for administering and monitoring the operation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. In its regular meetings, the TRIPS Council serves as a forum for discussion between members on key issues. It is open to all WTO members and observers

The Council annually reviews reports on technical cooperation and capacity-building activities as well as on developed countries' implementation of the obligation to provide incentives to their industries to transfer technology to least developed countries (LDCs). In addition, it reviews the functioning of the system that permits the granting of compulsory licenses for export of medicines.

Additional issues are being discussed on an ad hoc basis, such as access to medicines and public health, climate change, electronic commerce, the enforcement of intellectual property rights, intellectual property and innovation, intellectual property and the public interest, and issues of particular interest to LDCs.

Among the issues on the agenda of the TRIPS Council in 2021 is a proposal calling for a waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the “prevention, containment or treatment” of COVID-19. Another important issue is the question of continued exemption of least-developed countries (LDCs) from TRIPS obligations.