The WTO said that Roseau deposited the instrument earlier this week and that the protocol amending the TRIPS Agreement, which was agreed in 2005, is intended to formalize a decision to ease poorer WTO members’ access to affordable medicines.
The protocol allows exporting countries to grant compulsory licences – one that is granted without the patent holder’s consent – to their generic suppliers to manufacture and export medicines to countries that cannot manufacture the needed medicines themselves. These licences were originally limited to predominantly supplying the domestic market.
“With Dominica’s acceptance, over 65 per cent of WTO members have submitted their instruments of acceptance for the TRIPS protocol. The protocol will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted it,’ the WTO said.
Meanwhile, Dominica has also ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), putting the total number of ratifications from members at 100.
The WTO said with just 10 more ratifications from members needed to bring the TFA into force, the final countdown begins for realizing a global deal that could boost global merchandise exports by up to one trillion US dollars per annum by slashing trade costs and cutting red tape at the border.
Dominica’s and Mongolia’s instruments of acceptance were submitted to the WTO on 28 November.
“One immediate impact from entry into force of the TFA is that all developed country members of the WTO will start applying all of the substantive provisions of the Agreement from the date it takes effect.
“Developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) will also begin applying those substantive provisions of the TFA they have indicated they are in a position to do so from the date of entry into force; these commitments are set out in the Category A notifications which 90 members have submitted to date,” according to the WTO.
It said the TFA also has the ability to reduce the time to import goods by over a day and a half while also reducing time to export by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent respectively over the current average.
Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.
In addition to Dominica, the other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have ratified the TFA are Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Guyana, Grenada, St. Lucia, Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis.
- Countries: Dominica