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US to support IP waiver at WTO for COVID-19 vaccines
By TII News Service
May 06, 2021 , Washington

    

THE United States has announced its support to waive Intellectual Property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines, joining the efforts of India and South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to get equitable access and increase global supply to the life-saving shots.

US Trade Representative Ms Katherine Tai said on Wednesday that the country has decided to support better access to the vaccines, more manufacturing capability and wider coverage of the immunisation programmes.

"This is a global health crisis and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The [US] administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines," Ms Tai said.

The American government’s support means they will actively take part in the negotiations for the text of the waiver at the WTO and encourage other countries to back it. The European Union remains the only major trade bloc that continues to oppose the waiver, along with the UK, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and Norway.

"Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved," she said. "The administration aims to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible."

The US support for the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver is limited to COVID-19 vaccines, while India and South Africa are calling for a waiver on all COVID-19 interventions, including therapeutics and diagnostics.

 
 
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