Cablegate: Nigeria's Position On Wto Issue of Trips and Health

Published: Wed 27 Aug 2003 06:02 PM
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 232867
1. Given both the Ministers of Commerce and of Public
Health,s inability or unwillingness to meet with Embassy
Charge in the last ten days for the demarche mentioned in
reftel, Econ Counselor met with Nigeria,s Ministry of
Commerce Director of External Trade, Y. Fred Agah, on August
26 to determine the GON position on the issue of TRIPS and
its application to public health. Agah, a major participant
in the negotiations, was up to date on the state of play. He
argued in favor of the Perez-Motta text mentioned in para two
of reftel, saying it specifies clearly the steps that
countries will have to take to benefit from the compulsory
licensing that will permit the manufacture of patented drugs
for humanitarian purposes. He went on that attempts to
specify additional steps could prevent agreement on the
implementation of para six of the Doha Declaration, as the
execution of such measures might raise the cost of
manufacturing such drugs. The GON favors putting an end to
the discussion rather than engage in an exercise that
proliferates the footnotes to a text that is already lengthy,
he said.
2. After arguing that the United States and Switzerland have
prevented unanimous consent to the implementation of para six
of the Doha Declaration because of domestic industry
pressure, Agah said the GON nonetheless wants to work with
the USG to resolve differences before the ministerial meeting
opens in Cancun on September 14. Toward this end, he
asserted that the GON would support the tabling of a U.S.
statement that would record the U.S. demand that all WTO
members take appropriate steps to ensure that the drugs
provided within the framework of para 6 of the Doha
Declaration be used strictly for humanitarian purposes and
not diverted to the commercial or industrial market.
(Comment. Econ Counselor had the distinct impression that
Agah would expect such a statement to be read in the course
of an explanation of our position rather its being included
in a revised Perez-Motta text, which Agah might put in the
category of a footnote. End comment.)
3. Econ Counselor pressed Agah on the GON,s position
regarding the possible diversion of drugs subject to
compulsory licensing. Agah expressed confidence that
countries like India and Brazil would take appropriate steps
to ensure that such drugs not be bought by third parties for
industrial use or commercial resale. He argued that
insisting that such countries pass legislation to prevent
such diversion is unwarranted because such action would
unreasonably extend the authority of the WTO beyond its
present jurisdiction. (Comment. Agah avoided saying anything
about what Nigeria might do to prevent the illicit import of
such drugs by Nigerian importers. End comment.)
4. Agah also suggested that there is little likelihood that
Nigeria,s Representative to the WTO will work independently
with his U.S. counterpart to facilitate an understanding. He
said Nigeria,s rep had wanted to discuss the matter with
U.S. company representatives at an earlier meeting in Geneva,
but Agah had successfully argued against such talks, saying
Nigeria should support the African position. (Comment.
Despite Agah,s assertion that the GON wants to resolve the
issue before the summit opens in Cancun, it is not evident
that he knows of a solution that might accommodate our
position. End comment.)
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