WTO and India

India seeks TRIPS waiver for Vaccines


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: TRIPS Agreement

Mains level: TRIPS regulations

India and South Africa have jointly moved a proposal at the WTO’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) council for a waiver to help more countries get access to medicines and vaccines during the pandemic.

Q.WTO and multilateralism is dying in the face of a greater reliance on plurilateral and bilateral trade pacts. Discuss. (250W)

What is the TRIPS Agreement?

  • The TRIPS is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • It establishes minimum standards for the regulation by national governments of different forms of intellectual property (IP) as applied to nationals of other WTO member nations.
  • Its agreement was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) between 1989 and 1990 and is administered by the WTO.
  • The TRIPS agreement introduced intellectual property law into the multilateral trading system for the first time and remains the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property to date.

Why did India move such a proposal?

  • TRIPS waiver would deal with the question of equity along with global growth and livelihoods.
  • It is not only that we are coming in the way of life but it is very simple economics, asserted India’s ambassador.
  • For a commercial business of $30-40 billion of annual vaccine output of a few companies, we are coming in the way of $6-7 trillion of global GDP output in one year.

Premise behind it

  • In 2001, developing countries, concerned that developed countries were insisting on an overly narrow reading of TRIPS, initiated a round of talks that resulted in the Doha Declaration.
  • The Doha declaration is a WTO statement that clarifies the scope of TRIPS, stating for example that TRIPS can and should be interpreted in light of the goal “to promote access to medicines for all.”

Global response for the move

  • Fifty-seven WTO members have backed the proposal brought out by India.
  • But the EU, U.S., Japan and Canada have opposed the idea stressing the importance of intellectual property for innovation.

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