The petition by South Africa and India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive most of the protections in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement was all but dead. It failed in October, December, January, March, and May. Then, after the Biden Administration expressed in the most neutral terms is was “considering” and “discussing” the proposal, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai yesterday announced U.S. support for text-based negotiations that “will take some time.” IP rights are not the barrier to rapid production of vaccines advocates think they are, the waiver would cause more harm than possible good. The WTO would do much better to discuss removing obstacles to the trade of COVID-19 related items than removing intellectual property rights. There are 191 trade restriction measures on COVID-19 related supplies.
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