In a significant move to enhance bilateral relations, the Director General of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and his delegation returned to China from 8 – 10 April 2024, after their successful mission to the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference. DG Bemanya Twebaze paid a bilateral visit to the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and had productive engagements with Commissioner Shen Changyu. The purpose of this visit was to strengthen the existing cooperation between ARIPO and CNIPA, which has been in place for over 17 years.

The collaboration between ARIPO and CNIPA dates back to July 2007, when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between ARIPO and the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), now known as CNIPA. The Director General expressed appreciation for the progress made under the MoU, highlighting it as one of the most active agreements for both organizations. He further noted that ARIPO is ready to explore areas of further cooperation given the many available opportunities since China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years, with bilateral trade reaching a record of US$282.1 billion in 2023.

Despite facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which caused some interruptions in the two organizations’ annual plans of action, both offices have remained committed to fostering cooperation. The Director General reaffirmed ARIPO’s readiness to solidify the relationship with CNIPA and explore new areas of collaboration.

This visit signifies ARIPO's continued effort to strengthen ties and promote mutual understanding in intellectual property matters with markets worldwide. The discussions held during this meeting are expected to pave the way for enhanced cooperation and joint initiatives that will benefit both CNIPA and the ARIPO Member States.