Global Economy

India hopeful of WTO accepting at least part of TRIPS waiver proposal

India is hopeful that the World Trade Organization (WTO) will accept at least a part of its proposal on temporarily waiving of some intellectual property right rules under the TRIPS Agreement, even as a section of the rich world including European Union (EU) and Japan have steadfastly opposed the move, a commerce department official said.

USA has softened its earlier stand. So is the UK. But the EU is still opposing it tooth and nail. We are still engaging with all those nations on a regular basis. Hopefully we will achieve a part of the deal,” the officer said, as the world gears up for the 12th Ministerial Conference of WTO (MC12), to be held in Geneva from November 30 to December 3, a first-of-its-kind global trade meet after the outbreak of the pandemic.

The proposal, originally mooted by India and South Africa in October last year and which has so far been co-sponsored by 64 WTO nations, means a great deal in expanding access of Covid vaccines and other critical health products related to the pandemic. Another 34 nations have also extended their support from the floor, meaning they are agreeable to most parts of the proposal. But it will appear in MC12’s final declaration only if a consensus could be built around it.

The proposal has sought temporary suspension of some rules under Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) pact in relation to copyrights, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information, which in turn will help ramp up production of Covid vaccines and equitable distribution around the world, another officer said.


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