Big Boost For Global Fight Against COVID: US Announces Support To India-Led Proposal At WTO To Waive IP Protections For Vaccines

Big Boost For Global Fight Against COVID: US Announces Support To India-Led Proposal At WTO To Waive IP Protections For VaccinesPresident Biden addressing the joint session of US Congress (Representative image) (Pic Via Twitter)

In a big boost for global fight against Coronavirus pandemic, the United States has announced its support to a proposal by India and South Africa at World Trade Organisation (WTO) to temporarily waiver intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines.

United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai on Wednesday (5 May) released a statement announcing the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines," Tai said in the statement.

"We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) needed to make that happen. Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved," she said.

"The Administration’s aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible. As our vaccine supply for the American people is secured, the Administration will continue to ramp up its efforts – working with the private sector and all possible partners – to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution. It will also work to increase the raw materials needed to produce those vaccines," Tai added.

India and South Africa had pushed a proposal in this regard at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in October last year and are said to be preparing for a fresh push for the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver for Covid vaccines. The diplomats from the two countries are working on revising the text of the proposal. The fresh proposal is expected to be presented at the TWO in the next two weeks.

The support of the US to the India-South Africa led initiative is a huge boost for global supply of the Covid-19 vaccines, as it will enable manufacturers around the world to produce the vaccine.

However, it should be noted that the support of other developed nations is also needed for the proposal to be adopted at the global trading body.

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