Economy

USTR, Goyal discuss working together on TRIPS waiver for vaccines

Our Bureau | Updated on May 14, 2021

A waiver would allow patented medical products and vaccines to be manufactured and supplied by generic producers

New Delhi, May 14

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai discussed Washington’s support for the waiver of intellectual property (IP) protection for Covid-19 vaccines proposed by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organisation in a virtual meeting with Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday.

“Had a fruitful discussion with US Trade Representative Ambassador Tai focusing on India & the US working together on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver. This will ensure affordable COVID-19 vaccines for all,” tweeted Goyal after the meeting.

Earlier this month, Tai had expressed her country’s support in favour of a TRIPS waiver on vaccines and said that the US was ready to negotiate on the India-South Africa proposal at the WTO.

The IP waiver proposal, first submitted by South Africa and India on October 2 and since then co-sponsored by over 60 members including the African Group and the LDC Group, calls for a temporary waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the “prevention, containment or treatment” of COVID-19. A waiver would allow patented medical products and vaccines to be manufactured and supplied by generic producers without the need for licences from the patent holder.

While like the EU and Japan, the US had initially opposed the idea totally, it now is ready to work on a waiver of IPs for Covid-19 vaccines. The EU, too, has said that it was ready for discussions on the waiver but it has not given an assurance of support. India and South Africa want a TRIPS waiver not just for vaccines but a whole range of medical products including life-saving medicines.

Published on May 14, 2021

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