Canada's patent protection of pharmaceutical
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Communities said that while it supported the balance struck in the TRIPS Agreement between
the protection of patents and the promotion of public welfare, it believed that any
lowering of standards with respect to the former would disturb this balance. Thus, it was
reiterating its request for a panel against Canada's measures.
In its formal
request, the EC claims that Canada's legal regime allowing third parties, without the
consent of the patent holder, to carry out experiments required for marketing approval,
and the manufacture and stockpiling of patented products before the expiry of the patents
concerned violated provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.
maintained that its patent regime is part of a balanced approach that protects patent
rights and allows immediate distribution of products after expiry of patents. It stressed
this approach is consistent with the balance in the TRIPS Agreement between patent
protection and societal rights. Canada warned that the EC request challenges government
policies aimed at providing affordable access to pharmaceutical products, and thus should
be of concern to all WTO members.
established a panel to examine the EC complaint. Australia, Brazil, Cuba, India, Israel,
Japan, Poland, Switzerland and the United States indicated their interest to participate
as third parties in the panel proceedings.
US Anti-Dumping Act of 1916 back to top
The EC, in
reiterating its panel request, claimed that the US Anti-Dumping Act of 1916 violates
provisions of GATT 1994 and the Anti-Dumping Agreement by, among other things, providing
for discriminatory treatment of imported products.
States expressed disappointment that the EC chose to pursue a case against what it
described as an obsolete statute, under which no action had been taken during the past 82
established a panel to examine the EC request. India, Japan and Mexico stated their
interest to participate as third parties in the panel proceedings.
certain automotive industry measures back to top
reiterated a previous request for a panel to examine its complaint against the Canada-US
Auto Pact and related measures. It said that this Pact is WTO-inconsistent as it allows
only a limited number of manufacturers to import motor vehicles into Canada duty-free.
The EC said
that Canadian measures, including the 1965 Auto Pact and the Motor Vehicles Tariff Order
of 1998, grant certain manufacturers a tariff exemption for importing motor vehicles
duty-free into Canada subject to certain conditions. It said these include value-added
requirements, which it claimed violate the national treatment provision of GATT 1994 as
well as the TRIMs Agreement. The EC said it could agree to the merging of its panel with
that of Japan.
that consultations with Japan and the EC during the past six months have reinforced its
belief that its auto regime is fully consistent with the WTO. It said that recent
increases in its auto imports28 per cent in the case of Japan and 32 per cent for
the ECare indications that the Canadian auto market is open. Canada said that in the
interest of efficient use of WTO resources, it could agree to the EC panel request, which
was being considered by the DSB for the first time.
established a single panel to examine the complaints by Japan and the EC. India, Korea and
the United States indicated their interest to participate as third parties in the panel.
countervailing duties on UK steel
Communities requested a panel to examine its complaint concerning the US imposition of
countervailing duties on certain hot-rolled lead and bismuth carbon steel products
originating in the United Kingdom. It said that its consultations with the United States
in July 1998 failed to resolve the dispute.
complained that the United States refuses to take account of the privatisation or change
of ownership of the body receiving a subsidy, even if at a full market price, and to
consider whether the subsidy still provides a benefit when assessing or reassessing the
countervailable subsidy. It claimed that the US countervailing duties in question were in
violation of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.
States said that it could not agree to the EC request at that meeting. It maintained that
its measures are in conformity with the Subsidies Agreement.
agreed to revert to the EC panel request at its next regular meeting scheduled for 17
Communities said that it had started work on the DSB recommendations about its measures
concerning meat and meat products (hormones). As a first step, it said it had decided to
launch without delay a complementary risk assessment regarding these products, and that a
number of scientific studies are now underway. It stressed that in its view, the DSB
recommendations do not call for the abolition of the import prohibition in question.
States expressed concern that the EC had not yet begun the legislative process to withdraw
the measure, which it said is called for by the DSB recommendations. It added that the
status report was not clear on whether the EC would implement the DSB recommendations by
13 May 1999, the date set in WTO arbitration. The United States said it would like to
avoid another conflict regarding implementation, and called on the EC to negotiate a
WTO-consistent solution to the dispute.
expressed disappointment that the EC was only initiating scientific studies and had not
established implementation options. It emphasized the need to prevent another dispute on
implementation of DSB recommendations.
reported that a bill aimed at implementing DSB recommendations regarding its patent
protection for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products would be introduced to
the Parliament in the fourth week of February 1999.
States expressed concern that certain provisions of the Indian bill do not conform with
the TRIPS Agreement, but welcomed India's decision to start consultations on this matter.
said that it would be reporting on the status of its implementation of the DSB
recommendations concerning its measures affecting imports of footwear, textiles, apparel
and other items at the next meeting, as agreed with the complainant, the United States.
Other Business back to top
points were raised after the conclusion of the regular agenda:
expressed concern over Brazil's request for consultations with the EC regarding the
latter's preferential treatment for soluble coffee imported from members of the Central
American Common Market and the Andean Pact. It complained that Brazil had chosen a
dispute-settlement procedure that does not allow the participation of members directly
involved in the EC measures. Colombia stressed that the EC measures are aimed at
combatting drug trafficking. Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador,
Venezuela and Bolivia shared Colombia's concern. Brazil said that it is always ready to
discuss matters of mutual interest with other members.
on behalf of the other complainants (Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand), said that they have
reached an agreement with the United States setting 13 months as the reasonable period of
time for the US implementation of the DSB recommendations regarding the shrimp dispute.
The United States said that the cooperative manner in which this agreement was reached had
set a positive tone for future discussions.