Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal discussed the proposed waiver to provisions of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for COVID-19-specific items and raising vaccine production with United States Trade Representative (USTR), Katherine Tai.
During the meeting, Tai reaffirmed the commitment of the US to help India, the USTR said in a readout of the call.
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.
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.
(Edits by EP News Bureau)