China acts as a responsible world power in pushing WTO for decision on IPR exemption for COVID-19 vaccines
A health worker prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Bangkok, Thailand, April 4, 2022. Photo: Xinhua
China contributed to a number of important achievements at the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in particular the decision on the waiver of intellectual property rights (IPRs) for COVID-19 vaccines. 19, acting as a responsible world power, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday. .
An official from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce told Xinhua that so far, China has provided more than 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than 120 countries and international organizations, becoming an important contributor. to international cooperation in the fight against the virus.
In May 2021, China announced its support for the IPR waiver for COVID-19 vaccines and called for a swift decision on this issue by international bodies, including the WTO.
According to the official, China has actively participated in consultations on IPR waiver for COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO, strengthening communication and interaction with members such as the US, EU , India and South Africa, with the aim of engaging the parties to iron out differences and reach an agreement as soon as possible.
At the critical stage of the negotiations of this Ministerial Conference, China, as a major producer and supplier of COVID-19 vaccines, took the initiative to announce that it would not seek to exercise the flexibility offered by the exemption, laying the groundwork for reaching the decision of the conference.
China’s constructive role in the negotiations has been highly appreciated by the WTO Director-General and other members, which is also a practical initiative by China to uphold the multilateral trading system and establish a community with a shared future. humanity.
The official noted that the pandemic has brought many uncertainties to global economic and trade development, in addition to serious challenges for the multilateral trading system. Ministerial decision taken on IPR exemption for COVID-19 vaccines reflects WTO’s key role in actively addressing global challenges, conveys spirit of solidarity and cooperation among WTO members and greatly enhances the confidence of all parties in multilateral trade. system.
The official said that, given the special circumstances of the pandemic, developing members can waive some of the obligations of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding patent protection by allowing production vaccines without the authorization of the patentee and to export it to other eligible developing member countries.
The developing countries of the organization benefit from greater flexibility in the way authorization is implemented, the obligation of notification and the granting of an appropriate remuneration to the patent holder.
In addition, the conference resolved to provide legal safeguards and procedural facilitation for the local production of COVID-19 vaccines in developing countries, reflecting the objectives of promoting technology transfer and diffusion to protect public health. and social welfare through the protection and enforcement of IPRs.
This important outcome will play a vital role in bridging the global “vaccine divide”, improving accessibility and affordability of vaccines for developing member countries, as well as promoting community building. destiny for humanity.