Republican lawmakers against support of India's proposal at WTO amid COVID pandemic
Republican lawmakers against support of India's proposal at WTO amid COVID pandemic

Twelve Republican lawmakers have urged the Biden administration to not support a proposal by India and South Africa. The countries have proposed temporarily waive some Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights rules before the World Trade Organisation amid pandemic.


The 12 influential Congressmen wrote there opinion in a letter to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday. The letter is in response to the proposal in this regard by 60 developing countries, led by India and South Africa. Spearheaded by Congressmen Jim Jordan and Darrell Issa, the lawmakers requested that waiver is extraordinarily broad and unnecessary to accomplish the goal of giving as many people as possible access to vaccines and treatment for COVID-19. They claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed US President Joe Biden to support the waiver during a phone call in early May. The twelve signatures also include Steve Chabot, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Mike Johnson, Tom Tiffany, Thomas Massie, Dan Bishop, Michelle Fischbach, Scott Fitzgerald and Cliff Bentz. The letter read “If anything, the examples of IP ‘disputes’ cited by the waiver sponsors generally demonstrate that IP rights have not prevented the involved parties from supplying vaccines and other medicines" Although some flexibility may be warranted in emergency situations, the waiver of TRIPS IP protections requested by India, South Africa, and other countries would do little to improve public health during this critical period in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, TRIPS already allows countries to impose compulsory licenses to access vital IP rights, and no country has availed itself of that capability to date for COVID-19 vaccines or treatments, the lawmakers noted.


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