The United States says it supports a vaccine production waiver, but it must be agreed upon by all WTO members.


The United States says it supports a vaccine production waiver, but it must be agreed upon by all WTO members.

According to the Associated Press, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai stated on Thursday that the US remains committed to lowering intellectual property restrictions so that COVID-19 vaccines can be produced more freely. However, she stated that the US cannot “wish something into being” unless other WTO member states join in.

In May, the Biden administration stated that it favored abandoning intellectual property rights for COVID vaccinations in order to increase production. According to the Associated Press, some people who were not involved in the conversation over possible vaccine manufacturing waivers may have assumed that the US had remained silent since stating its position.

She said, however, that work was being done behind the scenes, even if it didn’t appear so from the outside.

“This may be like the duck on the pond, where from the outside the duck appears to be just hanging out, but underneath the surface the duck’s legs are moving at a breakneck speed.” During a seminar at Geneva’s Graduate Institute, Tai noted.

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According to Tai, the United States and many other countries want to see expanded vaccine manufacturing and more equitable vaccine availability. The COVID-19 vaccination waiver is “something we are committed to,” she said, emphasizing that the WTO runs by consensus, which means that all 164 member nations must agree.

“While we are collectively progressing, there is still a lot more progress to be made,” she remarked.

A closed-door meeting of the WTO’s TRIPS Council on Wednesday, according to a Geneva-based trade official, yielded “points of convergence” on a possible response to the pandemic using intellectual property mechanisms.

When trade ministers from WTO member nations convene from November 30 to December 3, the council chair, Ambassador Dagfinn Sorli of Norway, said he hopes to use the opportunity to push toward a consensus.

According to the World Health Organization, the vast majority of COVID-19 vaccines—mostly developed in the United States, Europe, and Asia—have gone to the world’s wealthiest countries, while developing countries have had limited access.

Tai praised the US for demonstrating “leadership” by supporting an IP waiver last spring, but This is a condensed version of the information.


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