India urges WTO members to consent on TRIPS waiver proposal

India has urged WTO members to reach consensus on a proposal on waiver of certain provisions in a multilateral agreement on intellectual property to deal with COVID-19 crisis, stating that one cannot continue to engage in endless discussions when millions of lives are lost to the pandemic.

Brajendra Navnit, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said at the General Council Meeting that there is a need for concerted efforts by  all the members to ensure that WTO makes a meaningful contribution to defeat COVID-19 and prove that it can indeed deliver in a crisis. In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19.

The agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS came into effect in January 1995. It is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets.

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