China sounds positive to India, S Africa proposal for global IP waiver for COVID-19 vaccines
China, which is actively pursuing COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy, on Thursday sounded positive to India and South Africa's proposal before the WTO to temporarily waive some of the patent rules during the COVID-19 emergency.
Addressing a media briefing here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “All countries are responsible for fighting the epidemic, and everyone has equal access to vaccines.” “China supports attention to the issue of vaccine accessibility, and expects that all parties will actively and constructively discuss under the WTO framework, and strive to reach an effective and balanced result,” he said, when asked for Beijing's reaction to the proposal to waive IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) rules for the coronavirus vaccines.
Wang, however, was not forthcoming when asked whether China would give up patents on its vaccines.
In a communique to the World Trade Organisation on October 2 last year, India and South Africa had called for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver of COVID-19 vaccines so that people in developing countries get access to life-saving vaccines and therapeutics as soon as possible.
Since then the proposal started gathering support from the WTO members, including the US and the European Union.
While the US on Thursday backed the proposal to temporarily waive patent rules on COVID-19 vaccines, EU leaders said the 27-nation bloc immediately will start discussing whether they should join such a move.
On Wednesday, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala appealed to member countries to quickly present and negotiate over a text that could temporarily ease trade rules that protect COVID-19 vaccine technology, considering the urgency.
According to media reports from Geneva, the headquarters of WTO, Okonjo-Iweala told a meeting of ambassadors from developing and developed countries to agree on the need for wider access to COVID-19 treatments.
WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said most member states ''would say this is the most important issue facing our organisation today”.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)