India calls for IPR waiver and dismantling of trade barriers in COVID fight
Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal called for the renunciation of intellectual property rights (IPRs) within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the dismantling of new trade barriers in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October 2020, India and South Africa had submitted the first proposal, suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation of certain provisions of the Agreement on Intellectual Property Rights that affect to commerce (TRIPS) with regard to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19.
In May of this year, a revised proposal was submitted by 62 cosponsors, including India, South Africa and Indonesia.
The TRIPS Agreement entered into force in January 1995. It is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and the protection of intellectual property. undisclosed information or trade secrets.
“Our response to the pandemic must ensure equitable access to vaccines and other health products related to COVID-19 by ensuring rapid resolution of supply-side constraints. One of the ways to demonstrate this is to accept the TRIPS waiver proposal, âGoyal said. , in his address to the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Investment in Naples, Italy.
He also advocated for the active resolution of new trade barriers such as vaccine differentiations or COVID passports, which impose mobility restrictions and hamper the flow of personnel needed to provide essential services.
“The COVID-19 crisis is a powerful reminder of our interdependence and the need for a coordinated global strategy to overcome such an unprecedented public health situation,” he said.
The minister also said that in addition to focusing on facilitating the free movement of goods, the G20 countries should make health services accessible and more affordable for the citizens of the world by enabling the free flow of health services. .
Commenting on ongoing WTO discussions on fisheries subsidies, Goyal said countries engaged in high seas fishing should stop subsidizing their high seas fisheries and gradually reduce their fishing capacity, especially for overfished stocks. .
“To achieve balanced results in fisheries subsidies, room for maneuver for the future is essential, not only to protect the livelihoods of poor and marginalized fishermen and address food security concerns, but also to diversify, modernize and develop the fishing sector, “he said. .
In addition, he urged G20 members to meet their commitments on technology transfer and climate finance, which are far from being fulfilled by developed countries.
“India has always maintained that environmental / sustainability measures should be carefully evaluated to ensure that they do not become new trade barriers and that the right forum for them is dedicated multilateral environmental agreements,” he said. -he declares.
On the sidelines of the G20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting, the Minister held bilateral meetings with the Director General of the WTO, the United States, the United Kingdom, the EU, Brazil, China, the Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Canada, South Korea and Mexico.
“Historic wrongs against developing countries must be corrected rather than carried forward,” he said.
In his meetings with the Canadian minister, he discussed the steps to be taken to advance the negotiations of the free trade agreement with the newly elected government, while calling on his South Korean and European counterparts to accelerate the revision of the the the.