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Joe Biden called to support India and South Africa at the WTO on Covid-19 vaccines | India News

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WASHINGTON: A group of US lawmakers has urged President Joe Biden to support India and South Africa’s move before the World Trade Organization for the temporary emergency exemption of some rules of intellectual property rights aspects related to trade (TRIPS) to enable increased production. and provision of vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests for Covid-19.
The move comes after India and South Africa, along with several other countries, have urgently turned to the WTO seeking a limited-time exemption from the TRIPS agreement. The previous Trump administration had opposed such a move.
At a press conference here on Wednesday, lawmakers – Rosa DeLauro, Jan Schakowsky, Earl Blumenauer, Lloyd Doggett, Adriano Espaillat and Andy Levin – said this while urging President Biden to support the temporary emergency waiver at the WTO as requested. countries led by India and South Africa.
Lawmakers said more than 60 US representatives would collectively write to Biden to announce their support for the TRIPS waiver proposed by India and South Africa at the WTO. The temporary TRIPS exemption would allow countries and manufacturers to directly access and share technologies to produce vaccines and therapies without causing trade sanctions or international disputes, they said.
“The Biden administration has an obligation to reverse the damage caused by the Trump administration and restore our nation’s global reputation as a leader in public health,” DeLauro said.
“As we see every day, the Covid-19 pandemic knows no borders. Our globalized systems cannot recover if only some parts of the world are vaccinated and protected against the virus. We must make vaccines available everywhere if we want to squash the virus anywhere, and we must make public policy decisions, both in the United States and at the WTO, that put people first, ”DeLauro said.
“Congress has allocated billions of dollars in emergency aid to the travel, tourism and hospitality industries and is planning billions more. The faster we can end this emergency, the faster these industries can recover. President Biden’s support for the TRIPS exemption is key to ending the pandemic and beginning a strong global recovery. ”
Schakowsky said big drug companies are adamantly opposed, stating in his letter to President Biden that “intellectual property is the foundation for both the development and sharing of new technologies,” not to mention their own profits or the billions of dollars. dollars that taxpayers have contributed. to your research and development.
“As a global community, we must come together and use all the tools at our disposal to stop this pandemic. We have seen WTO intellectual property rules and corporate greed have disastrous public health impacts during past epidemics, and we must ensure that this does not happen again, ”Blumenauer said.
“The Biden administration has already shown that we are in this together with our allies. They understand that a deadly pandemic doesn’t stop at any border. Working to ensure that trade rules do not impede the developing world’s access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests is the next step, ”he said.
“Given the Covid variants from Brazil and South Africa to stop this deadly virus, we need widespread immunization around the world, not just in the richest countries,” Doggett said. “While we have lacked enough vaccines in the United States, immunization has been almost non-existent in the poorest countries,” he said.
“The United States has an obligation to support the global community with the vaccine tools and resources that we develop to combat the Covid-19 pandemic,” Espaillat said, adding that there is a global enigma with countries that have to wait months. or even years to vaccinate its citizens. a delay that will only allow the virus to continue to mutate, spread, and kill more people.
“We simply cannot allow this to happen. During this time of crisis, instead of protecting the bottom line of wealthy pharmaceutical companies or the intellectual property derived from our collective investments, we must remove all impediments to vaccine distribution, including maximizing capacity worldwide to ensure that all people who want this vaccine have access as soon as possible regardless of economic background, race or nationality, ”said Espaillat.
“The World Trade Organization (WTO) has the capacity to do this, and I encourage the Biden administration to urge the WTO and partner member countries to use the tools at their disposal to do so,” he said.
“I desperately want to get back to normal,” Levin said. “But I want that normality to be sustainable! I want to be sure that this virus will not continue to spread, it will continue to mutate, potentially in a way that is resistant to the vaccines that we are receiving right now. I don’t say this to the fear mongers, ”he added.

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