Modi seeks support of G-7 nations for TRIPS waiver at WTO

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 13, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi   -  PTI

Stresses on need for global unit, leadership, solidarity to prevent future pandemics

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought the support of G-7 nations for the proposal moved by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for temporarily waiving some Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) provisions for Covid-19 related vaccines and medical products.

“Australia and some others came out strongly in support of the PM’s call for G-7’s backing of the India-South Africa proposal for TRIPS waiver at WTO,” a person tracking the meeting told BusinessLine.

PM Modi also stressed the need for global unity, leadership, and solidarity to prevent future pandemics, speaking at the first outreach session of the G-7 Summit on Saturday, according to an official release.

The session, titled ‘Building Back Stronger - Health’, focused on global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and on strengthening resilience against future pandemics.

Modi, who addressed the session virtually said that there should be ‘one earth, one health’ approach for the entire world. This sentiment was echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the source pointed out.

New Delhi was keen on keeping open supply chains for vaccine raw materials and components to help enhance vaccine production in countries such as India, PM Modi said.

India, together with Australia, South Korea, and South Africa, has been invited by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend the outreach component of the G-7 Summit in Cornwall in the UK on June 12-13. Modi decided to participate in the meet virtually on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Boris Johnson government gave an indication prior to the start of the Summit on Friday that leaders from G-7 nations, that include the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan, are likely to give an assurance of providing at least one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the world and set out a plan to expand vaccine manufacturing.

Following criticism that the rich countries are not doing enough to share vaccines with poorer nations, Johnson’s office has reportedly said that the UK will donate five million doses by the end of September. US President Joe Biden also recently announced the US would donate 500 million vaccine doses to the UN's COVAX initiative to supply vaccines to other countries.

India and South Africa’s proposal for a temporary waiver of TRIPS provisions to ensure the availability of vaccines and other medical products related to Covid-19 to all countries has been gaining traction at the WTO. All members have agreed to hold text-based negotiations on the matter. "The PM's emphasis on G-7 support for the waiver proposal is expected to improve its prospects at the WTO," the source said.

The PM also spoke of India’s successful use of open-source digital tools for contact tracing and vaccine management and conveyed the country’s willingness to share its experience and expertise.

He expressed India's commitment to supporting collective endeavors to improve global health governance.

The Indian PM will speak at two more sessions of the G-7 outreach programme on Sunday.

Published on June 13, 2021

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