piyush goyal: Need for rapid consensus on vaccine patent waiver, technology transfer to overcome COVID crisis: Piyush Goyal


Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday there was a need to reach early consensus in the WTO on the proposed patent waiver as well as on technology transfer and material availability firsts for vaccines to address the current COVID crisis.

In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the implementation of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement relating to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID.

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS 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 undisclosed information or trade secrets.

“To overcome this crisis much faster, we not only need the acceptance of the TRIPS waiver, but we need rapid consensus, technology transfer and the availability of raw materials for this. happen, “Goyal said at the WEF session on the outlook for world trade.

He said India wanted to cover medicines, vaccinations and related infrastructure as part of its proposal to address the challenge of COVID.

The United States has given “limited” support for vaccines and this is the pressing need today, he said, adding that India has enormous capacity, technical capacity and manpower. skilled work to help the world speed up immunization.

“I hope that this global collaborative effort and action now being carried out by the WTO will bear fruit.” Not only the acceptance of the TRIPS waiver, but also the rapid search for consensus, the transfer of technology, the availability of molecules and all other raw materials to make this happen, ”Goyal said.

He said more than 100 countries have already supported the proposal and “I’m sure” the developed world and those not yet on board will understand that it would benefit everyone.

Goyal also said that now India is hopeful that the proposal will gain multilateral support and consensus will be swift as speed is the essence and whether it takes months to reach consensus or agreement, “or we trade it and we don’t get the raw materials for it, we’re back to square one. ”

He informed that India has administered 67 million doses of COVID vaccine to less developed and developing countries.

“I doubt any other developed country has looked beyond its borders … Today we are facing a serious crisis, so we are forced to use our limited vaccines locally. But if this global effort ( exemption from TRIPS) is successful, I can assure you that India will be at the forefront with the rest of the world to support the least developed countries and the developing countries ”, underlined the Minister.

He also assured pharmaceutical companies and the developed world that India has always been IP compliant and will continue to be so.

The current situation requires extraordinary action and all can agree that extraordinary times demand out-of-the-box solutions, he said.

Speaking about the second wave of COVID, he said the government was taking action to address it by increasing the production of oxygen, the supply of essential supplies and the distribution of essentials across the country.

Many of the actions taken over the past year are helping to prepare the nation for Wave 2 and now support the country, he said.

Citing an example, he said India was using less than 1,000 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) in the days leading up to COVID and even at the peak of the first wave of COVID it was using around 3,000 tonnes.

At present, he said, the country uses 9,000 tonnes of LMOs and “overall we have been able to meet the needs of the country.”

Expressing his concern, he said that “unfortunately” parts of the international media have given “very exaggerated and very one-sided” versions of the situation in India.

“This is of course a very difficult time, I wouldn’t deny it at all, but it’s not like we are the only country to have been through this, even the developed world has seen it and in some cases much worse. We, with our resources are working to deal with this pandemic, ”he said.

Asked about India’s expectations for the next WTO ministerial conference, Goyal said the meeting should focus on the issues of developing countries and less developed countries to generate confidence.

He said India can only accept the limited agenda of a limited set of countries and the world’s agenda will need to be dealt with in a fair, equitable and true spirit of the WTO.

The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of the 164-member organization based in Geneva. The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) will be held from November 30 to December 3 in Geneva. It was originally scheduled to take place in June 2020 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan, but has been postponed due to the pandemic.

“Personally, I am very, very concerned that the developed world is managing to push its agenda in all the ministerial meetings that have taken place and that we are only discussing the areas of interest of the developed world,” he said. declared.

He added that key issues such as agriculture are on the decline and the search for a permanent solution to the problem of holding public stocks for food security purposes had to be decided many years ago.

“Imbalanced trade agreements, subsidy agreements and benefits enjoyed by the developed world must be treated with more compassion and sincerity in the WTO,” he added.

On free trade agreements, he said India was negotiating with the UK, EU, Australia and Canada because “we can” resonate with these nations in terms of democracies and transparent rules-based systems.

“We are excited about these negotiations and the potential they offer for the economic growth and prosperity of the people of India, the UK and the EU countries … with the EU and the UK United, we have agreed on a comprehensive dialogue covering all aspects. , including sustainability and others, ”said the Minister.

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