Explained: Intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines -Aanchal Magazine and Prabha Raghavan

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published Published on May 7, 2021   modified Modified on May 7, 2021

-The Indian Express

The United States will pursue negotiations at WTO to waive intellectual property for Covid-19 vaccines. This can allow large-scale production in middle-income countries, but there are arguments against the move.

The United States on Wednesday announced support for waiving intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines, saying extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the US will pursue “text-based negotiations” on the waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Text-based negotiations involve negotiators exchanging texts with their preferred wording and then thrashing out a consensus on the working — a fairly long-drawn affair. Negotiations are expected in a mix of virtual and in-person meetings. They “will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved”, Tai said.

All 164 WTO members must agree on the draft, and any one member can veto it. The European Union, which had earlier opposed the waiver, has now stated its intent to discuss the US-backed proposal.

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The Indian Express, 7 May, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-ip-waiver-for-covid-vaccines-7304992/?fbclid=IwAR3fzWUZXsZas1I-P9Nws54oYeWyJG6bjrGBXarx_mTeSB268We6EUCda4I

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