WTO General Council discusses India’s call for virtual ministerial meeting on pandemic response

The WTO General Council discussed India’s call to convene a virtual ministerial meeting on the World Trade Organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the proposed patent waiver. On December 23, 2021, India sent a letter to the Chairman of the General Council to hold a virtual ministerial meeting on the WTO (World Trade Organization) response to the pandemic, including the proposal to waive certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for COVID-19- Vaccines, Therapeutics and Related Diagnostics.

On January 10, General Council Chairman Ambassador Dacio Castillo (Honduras) called a meeting to discuss the World Trade Organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WTO said in a report. communicated.

After the meeting, Castillo said he would continue to hold consultations with members on the Indian proposal, stressing “the urgency and importance of achieving a meaningful outcome”.

A common WTO response to COVID-19 “remains an urgent priority for members,” he said.

WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called for urgent action towards a comprehensive WTO outcome on the pandemic response.

“More than two years have passed since the start of the pandemic. The emergence of the Omicron variant, which forced us to postpone our 12th Ministerial Conference, reminded us of the risks of leaving large areas of the world unvaccinated. she said.

The WTO is a 164-member multilateral body that formulates rules for global exports and imports and adjudicates disputes between two or more countries on trade-related issues.

Expressing disappointment at the lack of progress on the proposed TRIPs (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver to deal with the pandemic, India called for including this proposal in the response plan. proposed by the WTO.

In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted the first proposal, suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement regarding prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19.

In May 2021, a revised proposal was submitted. 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 or undisclosed information. trade secrets.

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