Mon, 17 Jan 2022

Geneva [Switzerland], January 11 (ANI): General Council Chair Ambassador Dacio Castillo convened a virtual meeting on Monday in response to India's recent proposal to hold a virtual Ministerial Conference on the WTO's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged the member countries to step up their efforts to the global response to COVID-19 and suggested that members can reach multilateral compromises on intellectual property and other issues with the required political will, WTO said in a statement.

"More than two years have passed since the onset of the pandemic. The emergence of the Omicron variant, which forced us to postpone our Twelfth Ministerial Conference, reminded us of the risks of allowing large sections of the world to remain unvaccinated.", said the DG.

"We at the WTO now have to step up urgently to do our part to reach a multilateral outcome on intellectual property and other issues so as to fully contribute to the global efforts in the fight against COVID-19," she added.

In October 2020, 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.

The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is a comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property.

Earlier, US President Joe Biden's administration 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 (WTO).

"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," US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a tweet. (ANI)

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