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G20 Trade Meet: India likely to make renewed pitch for IPR waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, meds

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on October 05, 2021

A proposal from last October on temporary waiving of IP norms had gained a lot of support   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Piyush Goyal also likely to push for meeting of developing country needs at WTO

India is likely to make a renewed call for a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights obligations for equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and medication items across the world,  at the G20 meeting of Trade Ministers in Italy to be held in October.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal is expected to put forward the country’s views on post-pandemic recovery, the distribution of vaccines and medicines around the world, the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), and sustainable development measures on October 12, officials tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

Also see: Australia seeks lower tariffs on wines, to compromise in agriculture, says Tehan

New Delhi is also likely to highlight its perspectives on world trade, the forthcoming WTO MC12 in Geneva, and dealing with Covid-19 at the meeting of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris this week, officials added.

Vaccine equity

The Trade Ministers’ meeting of the G20 countries — the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the US — is expected to help set the tone for important multilateral issues.

“The issues that may come up include vaccine equity, building of strong value chains to help in the post-pandemic recovery of economies, and fixing the agenda for the WTO’s MC12 next month,” the official said.

A proposal put forward by India and South Africa last October at the WTO on temporary waiving of TRIP norms for Covid-19 vaccines and other related medical products during the pandemic had gained a lot of support from a number of developing nations. While developed countries such as the US subsequently said they supported the waiver for vaccines, no concrete moves have happened in the direction.

WTO’s MC12

Both OECD and the G20 meets are expected to discuss the agenda for WTO’s MC12 scheduled on from November 30 to December 3 and India’s intervention would be important.

Also see: Centre seeks inputs on IPR from industry for India-UAE free trade pact

“There are attempts at the WTO to arrive at an agreement on eliminating fisheries subsidies and disciplining domestic subsidies in agriculture before or at the MC12. India has been making a case to carve out an exception for its vulnerable, small-scale fishers. It has also argued that developed countries have to do away with their huge domestic farm support before developing nations make more commitments. It needs to reiterate these points at all forums including the OECD and G20,” the official said.

Published on October 04, 2021

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