New Delhi/Washington, May 14 (FN Bureau) Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai met virtually on Friday and discussed increasing vaccine production, and the proposed waiver to certain provisions of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for the COVID-19 pandemic. Goyal told Tai that the supply chains for the vaccine manufacturers must be kept open and unbridled as the entire world is in dire need of vaccines.
Both sides agreed to work towards the common resolve of increasing vaccine availability and saving lives. Their meeting took place a day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar interacted with the US Global Task Force on Pandemic and discussed India’s priorities (oxygen, vaccines, pharmaceuticals) and the importance of effective supply chains. Jaishankar also underlined the global implications of a stronger India-US health collaboration. Goyal thanked the USTR for the US supply of medical equipment and support for India’s proposal at WTO on waiver of certain TRIPS provisions to increase global vaccine production.
Ambassador Tai conveyed her deep sympathy for the people of India as they battle a wave of COVID-19 cases and reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to help India during its time of need. She explained her support for the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and text-based negotiations at the WTO, which are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive effort to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution around the world. Ambassador Tai recognized the WTO Members who have expressed support for future negotiations and welcomed an update from Minister Goyal about India’s efforts to revise and resubmit their waiver proposal, said a readout of the office of the USTR. Both agreed to stay in regular communication in the days ahead.