Hong Kong Ministerial Ends With Little Overall Progress; Limited Focus On IP 18/12/2005 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Hong Kong–Trade ministers of the World Trade Organization members concluded a six-day intensive negotiation with little progress on the biggest issues, and minimal work on intellectual property issues. The final ministerial declaration adopted at the end of the meeting on 18 December contained no changes in terms of intellectual property issues from the meeting’s second revised draft released earlier in the day. The ministerial declaration will form the basis for the continuation of the current round of trade talks that began in Doha, Qatar in 2001 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2006. The second revised draft was published about 4pm in Hong Kong on18 December (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 18 December), containing a few changes to the first revised draft issued the day before (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 18 December). The ministerial draft was initially issued in Geneva on 26 November (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 28 November). The sixth WTO ministerial was concluded at about 10pm Hong Kong time after nearly a week of negotiations around the clock. Issues related to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) filled little of the official ministerial agenda although there were quite a few side events discussing IP issues. IP issues such as the protection of geographical indications and the relationship between the Convention on Biodiversity and the TRIPS agreement were subject to negotiations among the ministers, particularly in the run up to the first draft (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 16 December). Ultimately, the final draft left open further negotiations on these issues. In the closing ceremony, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy said that the meeting had “put the round back on track.” He said that while 55 percent of the round had been completed before the meeting, now the delegates were leaving with 60 percent of the round accomplished. Lamy said that this is one step forward but added that there “remains quite a lot to do.” Some developing country officials at the ministerial indicated that the African countries had given up some of their requests in the TRIPS and public health deal reached in Geneva on 6 December in order to gain something else in the overall agriculture negotiations in Hong Kong. The public health agreement made permanent a never-used 2003 temporary waiver to the TRIPS agreement allowing countries to export cheaper medicines to countries in need (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 6 December). Lamy added that the WTO was starting to tip the balance in the direction of developing countries, with an agreement on cotton and the European Union tentatively agreeing to end export subsidies by the end of 2013 (still less than the 2010 requested by other countries). An agreed development package covers aid for trade and an agreement on duty-free, quota-free market access for least developed countries (LDCs). But many non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations argued after the meeting that the ministerial had not delivered sufficiently in terms of development. The South Centre argued that developing countries and LDCs had once again “offered major concessions and accepted compromises to save the multilateral trade system.” The date and venue of the seventh WTO ministerial is yet to be decided, the WTO said. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "Hong Kong Ministerial Ends With Little Overall Progress; Limited Focus On IP" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.