Stalling waiver negotiations would damage WTO credibility, India warns

As countries in the European Union, UK, Australia and Singapore oppose textual negotiations for an intellectual property waiver for covid-19 vaccines and drugs, India warned on Monday that this would further damage the credibility of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the collective failure will be remembered by posterity.

“We often hear that the WTO is losing its relevance and credibility, well, if the WTO does not deliver during the pandemic on the issues and agreements for which it is responsible, and think that by concluding alone negotiations on fisheries in the midst of these difficult times, for the WTO to regain its credibility and relevance, would be a serious mistake. Failure to allow text-based negotiations will further damage the credibility of the WTO and this collective failure will be remembered by posterity, “India said at the informal meeting of the TRIPS Council. trade-related intellectual property) Monday.

The co-sponsors of a patent waiver to increase the supply of vital drugs and vaccines for covid-19, developed by India and South Africa, presented a revised proposal on May 21 requesting that the temporary exemption be in place for at least three years, given the uncertainty about the vaccine’s efficacy for children and against new variants. However, the proposal hit a roadblock even though last month the United States openly supported the idea and expressed its willingness to negotiate on the basis of a text at the WTO.

Dissenting economies have questioned the effectiveness of the TRIPS waiver in accelerating access to covid vaccines across the world. At a meeting on February 23, they asked co-sponsors such as India and South Africa if spare manufacturing capacity was available to produce vaccines even if a waiver was granted. The EU said, although it recognizes that increasing manufacturing capacity is a clear priority now and that any manufacturing capacity available anywhere in the world should be maximized, “any indication of the existence of ‘an underutilized capacity as indicated by some members would be very welcome.

India said on Monday that the co-sponsors of the proposal recognize that intellectual properties (IP) are not the only obstacle to increasing manufacturing and resolving constraints on the supply side. “However, we believe that PIs are the biggest obstacle to resolving the constraints on the supply side and therefore should be addressed as a priority. Waiver is not a sufficient but rather necessary part of a multi-pronged strategy. The TRIPS waiver is a necessary, proportionate and temporary legal step to remove barriers to intellectual property and pave the way for more companies to produce COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics or diagnostics by offering them the freedom to ” operate without fear of infringement of intellectual property rights or threat. litigation, ”he added.

In a recent article, the IMF calculated that an immediate investment of $ 50 billion by developed countries for global immunization efforts would lead to economic growth of $ 9 trillion by 2025, estimating that this could be the highest public return on investment in modern history. “We have made similar arguments in our previous statements stressing the need to take urgent action to contain the pandemic by increasing vaccine production to recoup the $ 9.2 trillion loss in economic output and an additional burden of $ 26,000. billion dollars in crisis support to the global economy. With the IMF echoing a similar sentiment, we hope members pay more attention to it, ”India said.

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