Prime Minister Calls for Vaccine Patent Exemption, EU Says Ease of Import Restrictions | India News
Prime Minister Narendra Modi participates in India-EU leaders meeting via videoconference (PTI)
NEW DELHI: Saturday’s first India-EU leaders meeting saw a major boost to trade ties with the two sides who agreed to resume negotiations, which had been on hold since 2013, to achieve balanced and comprehensive free trade and investment agreements, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for support for a TRIPS exemption for patents related to vaccine production.
In a statement after the meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that while the EU is ready to discuss “other proposals” to improve access to vaccines, it was important for countries to lift restrictions. to the importation of vaccines. EU leaders also urged the US to first remove its vaccine export restrictions before entering into any discussion of patent exemption that may increase production in the future. Indian officials hoped the EU would consider India’s proposal.
The Indian government said it was the first time leaders had met in an EU + 27 format with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a special guest at the EU Council. At the summit, Modi called for the EU’s support for India’s joint proposal with South Africa for a TRIPS exemption. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said the two sides agreed to resume negotiations on trade, investment protection and geographical indications, adding that he was confident of a balanced and ambitious outcome.
While the US has supported the TRIPS exemption proposal, MEA (West) Secretary Vikas Swarup said after the virtual going that the EU’s support in the WTO for this exemption will ensure that India can increase the production of vaccines for equitable and global access and saving lives.
Negotiations on trade and investment agreements will take place in parallel tracks with the intention of reaching an early conclusion. “This is an important outcome that will allow the two sides to realize the full potential of the economic partnership. India and the EU also announced specific dialogues on WTO issues, regulatory cooperation, market access issues and resilience of the supply chain. supply, demonstrating the desire to further deepen and diversify the economic engagement, “the statement said.
Government sources said EU leaders were warm and supportive of India’s efforts to contain Covid. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonia Costa spoke of her OCI status, while French President Emmanuel Macron said: “India does not need to hear anybody’s lectures on vaccine supplies. India has exported a lot for humanity to many countries. We know where India is. ” “Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez recalled India’s attendance last year and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo greeted Modi with a” kem chho. ”
The prime minister appreciated the EU’s swift response to mobilize support for India’s response to Covid-19. As you may recall, India kept its supply chains open during the first wave of Covid-19 last year and supplied essential drugs and masks to several EU countries. The current EU assistance is an example of trusted partners supporting each other in times of need, “Swarup said. A joint statement said India and EU leaders supported universal, safe, equitable and affordable access to vaccines. , Covid-19 diagnoses and treatments, and strengthening health systems. Modi had also sought the support of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the patent exemption on Friday.