Katherine Tai, Piyush Goyal discuss vaccine output, TRIPS waiver

PTI Washington | Updated on May 15, 2021

Tai said she supported waiver of IP protections for Covid-19 vaccines, text-based negotiations at the WTO

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal discussed the proposed waiver to provisions of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Covid-19-specific items and raising vaccine production with the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Katherine Tai, in a virtual meeting on Friday.

During the meeting, Tai conveyed her deep sympathy for the people of India as the country battles a deadly wave of Covid-19 and reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to help India, the USTR said in a readout of the call.

Also read: USTR, Goyal discuss working together on TRIPS waiver for vaccines

India is in the midst of a deadly wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with 3,43,144 people testing positive for the virus on Friday, taking the country’s caseload to 2,40,46,809. The death toll stands at 2,62,317.

India’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 10 million mark on December 19 and in under six months it has doubled, surpassing the grim milestone of 20 million cases on May 4.

Tai explained her support for the waiver of intellectual property (IP) protections for Covid-19 vaccines and text-based negotiations at the WTO, which are part of the Joe Biden administration’s comprehensive effort to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution around the world.

Also read: Countries should share vaccines with those in dire need: Goyal

Tai recognised the WTO members who have expressed support for future negotiations and welcomed an update from Goyal on India’s efforts to revise and re-submit their waiver proposal, the release said.

India and South Africa have been pushing a resolution at the WTO that would force pharmaceutical companies to hand over their Covid-19 vaccine and therapy IP to manufacturers in low-income countries. The waiver is backed by nearly 100 other low-income countries, progressive groups and more than 100 Democratic Congress members.

Published on May 15, 2021

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