New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal called upon the global community Tuesday to ensure timely and equitable availability of vaccines and medicines for COVID-19 in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices. Piyush Goyal was speaking at a virtual informal meeting of World Trade Organisation (WTO) members.
Goyal said India and South Africa have proposed relaxing certain provisions in the intellectual property (IP) agreement of the WTO. This is needed to address the challenges that countries with limited manufacturing capacity will face in accessing these medical supplies.
The minister called upon all members to support the proposal in order to arrive at a decision on it by the 12th ministerial conference of the WTO if not earlier.
Piyush Goyal ‘has called upon the global community to ensure timely and equitable availability of vaccines and medicines for COVID-19, in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices’, an official statement said.
Earlier this month, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS Agreement came into effect in January 1995. It is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets.
Goyal also said the need of the hour is to take effective measures to address the immediate challenges, and prepare a long-term roadmap on how to reform an ailing and imbalanced global trading system. He added that the pandemic has highlighted the need for easier cross-border movement of healthcare professionals.
A multilateral initiative that provides for easier access to medical services needs to be launched immediately. We should aim to deliver this outcome by the 12th ministerial conference, Goyal said.