Titel: EU Parliament votes against patenting of life
Datum: 21 maart 2001
Europees Parlement
Via: Emaillist Biotech Activists biotech_activists@iatp.org, 03/21/2001 by rivercare@blackfoot.net


European Parliament resolution containing the European Parliament's
recommendations to the Commission on the WTO Built-in Agenda negotiations
AUTHOR: European Parliament
PUBLICATION: Minutes of 13/03/2001, Provisional Edition, "WTO Built-In
Agenda Negotiations", A5-0076/2001
DATE: 13 March 2001


NOTE: This is an excerpt from a resolution adopted by the European
Parliament which recommends EU policy for the renegotiation of TRIPS
and other WTO agreements. The EP has taken a strong and clear position
against the patentability of life forms. According to news wires*, the
Parliament voted 240 in favour, 226 against and 5 abstentions on this
matter. This move to exclude animals, plants and microorganisms, as well as
biological and microbiological processes, from the possibility of being
patented within the framework of TRIPS supports the policy advocated by many
developing countries, including the entire African Group at WTO.
See nos. 36 & 37.

* (EP/WTO) EP Recommendations to Commission for New Round, Agence Europe,
Strasbourg, 14 March 2001. http://www.agenceurope.com

Minutes of 13/03/2001 - Provisional Edition
WTO Built-in Agenda negotiations A5-0076/2001

European Parliament resolution containing the European Parliament's
recommendations to the Commission on the WTO Built-in Agenda negotiations

The European Parliament,

- - having regard to Article 20 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture, Article
XIX of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and Articles 23(4)
and 27(3)(b) of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPS),

- - having regard to its resolutions of 18 November 1999 on the communication
from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the EU
approach to the WTO Millennium Round (COM(1999) 331 - C5-0155/1999 -
1999/2149(COS)) and 15 December 1999 on the Third Ministerial Conference of
the World Trade Organisation in Seattle,

- - having regard to Rule 97(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

- - having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, External Trade,
Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and
Rural Development (A5-0076/2000),

A. whereas several WTO agreements concluded as part of the Uruguay Round
require fresh negotiations to be entered into by 2000 at the latest (the
"Built-in Agenda"),

B. whereas this resolution expresses the position of Parliament with
specific regard to the forthcoming WTO review of progress in the context of
the "built-in agenda",

C. whereas, following the failure of the WTO Ministerial Conference in
Seattle in December 1999, those negotiations could not be incorporated into
a fresh multilateral negotiating round,

D. having regard to the WTO meeting, scheduled for the end of March 2001,
for an interim review of the Built-in Agenda negotiations to date, [...]

I. Puts to the Commission the following recommendations:

1. Calls on the Commission to conduct the present WTO negotiations on
agricultural trade, trade in services and specific intellectual property
issues on the basis of the guidelines for these areas given to it by the
Council and Parliament for the Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference and the
recommendations set out in this resolution; [...]


31. Regrets the limited scope of the negotiations on protection of
intellectual property under the Built-in Agenda, which, apart from questions
concerning protection of geographical indications for wines and spirits and
extending protection to other agricultural products, only covers plant
variety safeguards;

32. Calls for a broad review of the TRIPS agreement with a view to removing
obstacles to the transfer of knowledge to developing countries, reinforcing
and clarifying the provisions on access to medicines, to ensure that
life-saving drugs are made as widely and cheaply available as possible in
developing countries, and ensuring that WTO rules are in conformity with the
Convention on Biodiversity;

33. Insists on effective protection for geographical indications and
designations of origin in respect of all agricultural and processed food
products dealt with in these negotiations;

34. Advocates the establishment of a multilateral register of geographical
designations of origin within the meaning of Article 23(4) of TRIPS which,
in addition to protected designations of origin, must also include the
relevant national safeguards and multilateral procedures for notification
and mutual recognition;

35. Regards it as desirable to extend protection of geographical indications
for wine and spirits to other agricultural products, in particular also in
the interests of better marketing of such products from developing
countries; believes that a reinforcement of the regulatory framework will
allow diversification of production and consumer protection;

36. Calls on the Commission to be vigilant, in the negotiations on specific
plant variety safeguards and other rights pursuant to Article 27(3)(b) of
TRIPS, as to the compatibility of WTO rules with the provisions of the Rio
Convention on Biological Diversity and, in the process, take account of the
special interests of developing countries in their biological heritage and
the interests of indigenous communities; therefore calls for the
negotiations to review the content of this Article as demanded by various
blocs of developing countries (notably Brazil, India and the African nations);

37. Calls on the European Union to defend the principles laid down in the
1992 convention on biodiversity and the FAO's international undertaking on
plant genetic resources and supports the ban on the patenting of animals,
plants, micro-organisms and biological and microbiological processes;

38. Calls for such intellectual property protection to be allowed only if it
involves an invention of an innovative nature for industrial application, if
access to the original genetic material is gained lawfully with the informed
consent of the donor or custodian of the resource, and if the economic
benefit is equitably shared between such donors or custodians and the party
wishing to commercialise the material in accordance with the principles of
Article 8(j) of the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity;

39. Takes the view that the ongoing negotiations concerning the TRIPS
agreement should strengthen the provisions for the local production and
marketing of drugs where there is an overriding national or supranational
interest in the prevention or alleviation of epidemic disease (such as
HIV/AIDS); [...]