The UK would like to thank you, Ambassador Karklins, for all your hard work as Acting Chair of the Assemblies, and would like to congratulate Ambassador Duaong Chi Dung for his election as incoming Chair. We would also like to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for their continued dedication. We support the statements made by the EU Presidency and Group B.
Mr Chair, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union continues to be a major topic of discussion across many fora. As we continue the withdrawal process, we are clear in our aims: to allow people and businesses in the UK and the EU to adjust to new arrangements in a smooth and orderly way; and to ensure that the UK leaves the EU with certainty, continuity and control.
Throughout this period of transition, one thing which will of course remain constant is our commitment to WIPO. We will continue to engage constructively and positively in discussions concerning the future development of the services and frameworks provided by this organisation, which ensure the global IP system is robust and fair, and can stimulate innovation and economic growth for the benefit of everyone.
UK businesses place particular value in WIPO’s key IP protection services such as the PCT, Madrid and Hague. We welcome the opportunities provided in WIPO for all interested stakeholders to contribute to the continuous improvement of these services, and were grateful for the opportunity to present our position paper at this year’s Madrid Working Group.
We also welcome the steady growth in membership of these systems in recent years, and I am pleased to confirm that the UK will join the Hague System next year. And we are delighted to be hosting a series of WIPO Roving Seminars across UK cities in April next year, which will help to raise awareness of all WIPO systems, services and IT platforms – all of which can play a key role in an interconnected world.
While improvement and expansion of these core services should be a priority, we also value opportunities to shape the future of the global IP system in WIPO’s Standing Committees. While some discussions concern normative proposals, these are not the only possibility, and we should also recognise the value of using the Standing Committees to share experiences, learn from each other and work together on improving the existing framework.
The UK would also like to commend the Secretariat and Member States for another informative and balanced set of discussions in the Advisory Committee on Enforcement. We welcomed the opportunity to share our research into consumer attitudes to online copyright material through a lunchtime side event, and would like to thank Member States for their participation.
The UK is pleased to see that WIPO remains in a strong financial position, which is important as part of the UN common system. We welcome the agreement by the Programme and Budget Committee to implement a new investment policy which will help secure the organisation’s long-term sustainability. In the shorter term we hope the outstanding budget issues for the next biennium can reach conclusions which work for all Member States and for the organisation as a whole.
We look forward to a constructive meeting of the General Assemblies.