A small group of WTO members deliberating on the TRIPS Waiver, are discussing suggestions to limit the geographical scope of the implementation of the waiver – plans that seek to exclude India and China, sources familiar with the process say. These discussions among the US, the EU, South Africa and India, are still fluid and are likely subject to other diplomatic considerations outside of the waiver. India has been a lead co-sponsor of the TRIPS waiver proposal along with South Africa since October 2020.
While it appears that India will likely not accept such a proposal, and yet, it is not entirely clear whether such a limitation will be a clear red line for the proponents of the waiver. We did not receive responses from Indian authorities to our queries by the time this story went to print.
Observers also point to India’s pharmaceutical industry which has not favoured the waiver approach in order to address the supply challenges for COVID-19 medical products.
These on-going talks among these select members have been a part of the high level quadrilateral process led by the WTO DG. Such an exclusive process limited to four WTO members has reportedly been criticized by other WTO members including the UK and Switzerland, for the selective nature of engagement, Geneva-based trade sources told us. Some members have even called this process a “breach of trust”.
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