Attempts on to get patent waiver beyond vaccines: India

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NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday said it has not abandoned its attempts to seek TRIPS waiver for Covid-19 vaccines, drugs and medical devices and made it clear that it will not allow countries to use the proposed package on pandemic action to restrict the flexibility of countries in imposing export restrictions.
The statement comes amid hectic negotiations in Geneva to work out a package ahead of a ministerial meeting of trade ministers next month. Government sources said while the developed countries were seeking to restrict the benefit of TRIPS waiver to vaccines, they were not hesitating on insisting that the export restrictions should be avoided for vaccines, drugs and medical devices. “Similarly, we do not want some of the countries to seek market access for services through the text,” an officer said.
After a gap of 10 years, an Indian officer will be the chair for negotiations in a WTO committee. A government official said that Anwar Hussain Shaik, posted in the Indian mission in Geneva, will chair the WTO’s committee on Technical Barriers on Trade.
While India and South Africa had moved a proposal for TRIPS waiver in October 2020 to ensure that there were adequate vaccines and medicines to combat the pandemic, it faced stiff resistance from the US, the EU, Switzerland and the UK, until there was a compromise text in place. But Indian is not fully satisfied with it.
A decision on TRIPS waiver along with an agreement on fisheries subsidies, for which India has sought a special dispensation for developing countries, is expected at the ministerial meeting next month in Geneva.



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