Cablegate: Nigeria: Trips and Access to Medicines

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 175220

1. EconOff delivered reftel demarche October 16 to Mr. Y.T.
Agah, head of Multilateral Affairs at the Federal Ministry of
Commerce. EconOff emphasized the need for a balanced
approach that protects intellectual property rights for
pharmaceutical patent holders while permitting developing
countries to address public health crises. Agah agreed,
adding that Nigeria had no intention of violating the
intellectual property rights of patent holders.

2. EconOff raised concern over the inclusion of language,
tabled by developing countries, that declares "nothing in the
TRIPS Agreement shall prevent members from taking measures to
protect public health." EconOff added that this language was
open to interpretation that could allow member-states to
violate TRIPS. Agah replied that perhaps this language could
be negotiated, although it was important that interpretations
of TRIPS not prevent states from protecting its citizens in
the case of health crises.

3. Regarding the provision allowing for compulsory licensing
in a member-state that does not have domestic pharmaceutical
manufacturing capacity, Agah said the GON wanted to retain
flexibility in case interpretations of Article 31 would
prevent this from occurring. Agah said it was important that
developing countries table these issues now, even if they
were not relevant until January 1, 2005.

4. Comment. The Multilateral Office of the Ministry of
Commerce has only eight officers responsible for all WTO
issues. These officers share two computers that work only
sporadically, due to power outages and failures. Moreover,
Agah admitted, his officers lack the capacity to analyze and
interpret WTO issues, such as TRIPS. Therefore, the Commerce
Ministry often relies on other developing countries' views to
inform its position. Capacity-building and training are
critically needed for Nigeria to take the initiative on, and
provide leadership for, multilateral trade issues in Africa.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Myanmar: Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>