India and US flags seen during a news conference at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi | Bloomberg Photo
India and US flags | Representational image | Bloomberg Photo
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Washington: Welcoming the US support for global waiver on patent protection for COVID-19 vaccines, India on Thursday said it is hopeful that the waiver can be approved quickly at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with a consensus-based approach.

“We welcome the statement of the US government announcing their support for this initiative. We are hopeful that with a consensus-based approach, the waiver can be approved quickly at WTO,” the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. “During his recent phone call on 26 April 2021 with the US President Biden, Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] informed him about India’s initiative at the WTO which was aimed at the benefit of humanity,” the statement added.

In October last year, India and South Africa, along with 57 members of WTO proposed a waiver from certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19.

US President Biden’s administration on Wednesday announced its support for a global waiver on patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines and said it will negotiate the terms at the World Trade Organisation.

Making the announcement, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said this is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures.

“These extraordinary times and circumstances of call for extraordinary measures. The US supports the waiver of IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help end the pandemic and we’ll actively participate in @WTO negotiations to make that happen,” Tai said in a tweet.

In a statement, the US administration said that it believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

Also read: India’s struggle to track new Covid variants could worsen crisis


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