WTO members indicate their main acceptance of the TRIPS waiver by agreeing to text-based negotiations: Anup Wadhawan

The agreement of World organization of commerce (WTO) to advance the negotiations on the basis of a text of the proposal in India and South Africa for a temporary exemption from certain provisions of trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (travel) indicated their acceptance in principle of the objectives of the proposal, said the trade union secretary. Anup Wadhawan.

Member countries expect to reach an agreed text and subsequent implementation of the waiver of intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies by the end of July, Wadhawan said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.

“The countries broadly accept in principle the objective behind this waiver proposal and now to give effect to this objective, they will have text-based negotiations,” Wadhawan said, adding that these were positive developments. At a June 8-9 Travel Council meeting in Geneva, India said it wanted negotiations to begin by mid-June, according to an official statement.

In October 2020, India and South Africa had submitted the first proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation of the provisions of the Travel agreement related to the prevention, containment or treatment of Covid-19. Later, in May of this year, a revised proposal was submitted by 62 co-sponsors, including India, South Africa and Indonesia. The Trips agreement came into effect in 1995 and covers copyright, industrial designs, patents and the protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets.

Foreign trade policy

India could expect a new foreign trade policy (CTF) as soon as the government is largely engaged in consultations with stakeholders, but for now, the existing policy is extended until September, said Wadhawan. The decision to extend the current policy was taken to ensure continuity during the pandemic and to avoid having to adjust a new policy.

However, with the changes and improvement in the policy, including an extension of compliances, it could be considered a new policy, he said. “In a sense, the current FTP becomes a new policy as you change it, improve it, adjust it from time to time, depending on the circumstances,” Wadhawan said.

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