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Ensure a successful, practical outcome of the TRIPS waiver discussions at the WTO: RSS-affiliate to the government

RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Friday urged the government to ensure an effective and useful outcome of the patent waiver discussions at the WTO, saying India should not agree to any text until it has been fully vetted and endorsed by technical experts. In a letter to Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, SJM co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan said it is `’unprecedented” that the World Trade Organization (WTO) secretariat is having textual discussions at the ministerial level without the involvement of technical advisors.

All WTO members on the implementation of certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement in relation to the prevention and containment or treatment of Covid. An amendment was submitted in May 2021. Over 100 WTO members support India and South Africa’s TRIPS exemption proposals. Both India and South Africa are seeking a decision on a proposal to temporarily waive certain provisions of the WTO’s Intellectual Property Agreement to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

”In any case, we understand, that India is standing up to the pressure of the EU, the US and the WTO secretariat. We call on you to continue the same, to ensure that any outcome of the discussions should result in an effective and useful outcome for access and should expand the flexibilities provided by the TRIPS Agreement,” he added. In October 2020, India and South Africa had submitted the first proposal, suggesting a waiver.

“The scope of the TRIPS exemption decision should include not only vaccines, but therapeutics and diagnostics,” Mahajan said in a letter to the minister. He said the outcome of the waiver should go beyond the compulsory licensing (CL) mechanism and also include the protection of trade secrets, which are so important for generic manufacturing of vaccines and Covid monoclonal antibodies. Both patented and patent-pending products should be covered, Mahajan added.

“Given that people around the world are waiting for good results, it is absolutely critical to ensure that the results are solid and reliable before agreeing to them. India should ensure that South African ministers share the same views,” he said. “India should not agree to any document until it has been fully reviewed and approved by Indian technical experts,” Mahajan said. It is also important for both India and South Africa to update other major co-sponsors (member states) on the situation and keep them secret before agreeing on anything, he said.

“The WTO Secretariat, the US and the EU may emphasize confidentiality and confidentiality, but they should also emphasize the importance of ensuring that countries have access to appropriate advice and support,” he said. he suggested. The SJM Co-Chairs stressed that secrecy should not interfere with national decision-making processes and that governments should seek expert advice on the matter, including the WTO Research Centre, major civil society organizations and academic experts.

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  • Ensure a successful, practical outcome of the TRIPS waiver discussions at the WTO: RSS-affiliate to the government
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