China’s Spokes WTO Quad Waiver Text, Offers to Sidestep if Conditions Met

China, one of the biggest exporters of COVID-19 vaccines, told WTO members this week that it has concerns on an exports-based eligibility criterion that seeks to exclude developing countries that export more than 10% of the world’s vaccines – a condition that has been proposed as a part of the “Quad waiver text”, now being negotiated at the WTO. China said that “using the criterion of export share to define eligible members will send a wrong signal to the outside world and also have systemic implications to the future negotiations”. China also offered that if its concerns on such a … Continue reading China’s Spokes WTO Quad Waiver Text, Offers to Sidestep if Conditions Met

WTO DG Serves Up New Proposed Text on the TRIPS Waiver to a Divided House, Tense Negotiations Expected

This week WTO members were given access to a letter that was described as an outcome document based on the discussions between select members. This letter was sent by the Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to the Chair of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Ambassador Lansana Gberie of Sierra Leone, describing the progress of the informal discussions on the TRIPS Waiver proposal. The letter also shared a proposed text by the DG on the waiver discussions.   Although the document does not specifically mention the quadrilateral group (comprising the US, the EU, India and South Africa) it is understood … Continue reading WTO DG Serves Up New Proposed Text on the TRIPS Waiver to a Divided House, Tense Negotiations Expected

Public Hearings on a Pandemic Agreement Open Floodgates of Interest; WTO DG To Take Compromise Text on TRIPS Waiver to the Wider Membership

Public Hearings on a Pandemic Agreement Open Floodgates of InterestAn impressive range of stakeholders made their interests and concerns known at the public hearings this week conducted by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body set up to establish a new pandemic agreement. From feisty civil society activists to hard-as-knuckles lobbyists; from social justice champions to focused medical products manufacturers; from professors at American universities to healthcare workers; from representatives of the families of the deceased to wildlife experts; from anesthesiologists to anthropologists; from human rights scholars to teachers’ unions. These disparate group made forceful, incisive statements on what the pandemic meant to … Continue reading Public Hearings on a Pandemic Agreement Open Floodgates of Interest; WTO DG To Take Compromise Text on TRIPS Waiver to the Wider Membership

The Lowest Common Denominator: The Quad Text on the TRIPS Waiver

A developing country ambassador told us a few months ago that the best outcome on the waiver proposal would be to persuade the Americans and Europeans to have a solution that would include all kinds of medical products not just vaccines, and waiving all kinds of IP  protections not just patents, underlining the positions of these key WTO members respectively. Now, as a potential for a compromise is beginning to emerge, it seems that the proponents of the waiver might have lost out on both accounts. While scholars and access to medicine advocates have already panned the compromise text, these … Continue reading The Lowest Common Denominator: The Quad Text on the TRIPS Waiver

A compromise on the horizon? TRIPS Waiver talks in the ‘Quad’ at the WTO

While the Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended trade diplomacy at the WTO in recent days, the TRIPS waiver discussions have proceeded among a small group of members and is likely nearing a compromise, although differences persist. Sources familiar with the process told us that technical deliberations among the quad that includes the US, the EU, India and South Africa, are now nearing completion. These discussions are soon expected to follow at the level of the ministers of these four WTO members. “If the current text is acceptable by high-level decision-makers, it will then be taken up by the wider … Continue reading A compromise on the horizon? TRIPS Waiver talks in the ‘Quad’ at the WTO

Sticky post

EXCLUSIVE: Efforts to limit the implementation of the TRIPS Waiver, proposals to exclude India & China

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 … Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Efforts to limit the implementation of the TRIPS Waiver, proposals to exclude India & China

TRIPS Waiver fights to stay front and center at WTO; What lies ahead for countries post-WHASS

Days after the postponement of WTO’s ministerial conference at the cusp of its convening, the proponents of the TRIPS Waiver are fighting to keep it front and center even as the emergence of a new variant has cast a spotlight on the WTO to resolve the waiver discussions to meet new challenges in the on-going pandemic. Depending on who one speaks to, it seems that the new variant gives urgency to both the opponents and the supporters of the waiver. One trade diplomat from an opposing group told us that the variant has underscored even more the role of the intellectual property … Continue reading TRIPS Waiver fights to stay front and center at WTO; What lies ahead for countries post-WHASS

Podcast: The Story Of The TRIPS Waiver

Dear Readers, Listeners, I am happy to bring you our next episode of the Geneva Health Files podcast, encouraged by the response to our first earlier in the year. In this episode we take you on the journey of the TRIPS waiver, how it began and the way it has captured public imagination. While uncertainty swirls around what will happen next in the story of the waiver, let’s seize the moment to review and recap in broad brushstrokes, the journey so far and what this means for the world. This podcast has been made possible when a reader, a trained radio journalist, … Continue reading Podcast: The Story Of The TRIPS Waiver

At WTO, Some Developing Countries: “No Waiver – No Walker”; Destination undecided, but countries divided over legal route for new WHO instrument

With just days left for the 12th WTO ministerial, members are yet to reach a decision on the TRIPS waiver – one of the most important deliverables for this meeting. While the waiver decision may hold the key to the success or failure of this event, it is emerging as a key bargaining chip for developing countries in trying to steer the overall outcomes from this ministerial, according to trade diplomats. There was already pressure building on the opponents to the waiver as hours towards the ministerial get smaller. In a dramatic turn of events, the rise of a new variant detected … Continue reading At WTO, Some Developing Countries: “No Waiver – No Walker”; Destination undecided, but countries divided over legal route for new WHO instrument

Is the ‘Walker Process’ at the WTO undermining the TRIPS Waiver?

In crafting a WTO response to the pandemic, not all members favor referring to a potential decision on the TRIPS Waiver. This, among other issues, threatens consensus around a broader declaration on what is being referred as the WTO response to the pandemic that builds on the trade and health initiative suggested by the Ottawa Group. (The group is a coalition of countries that first proposed a trade and health initiative in November 2020) At stake is not only what members want as text in this declaration, but also the process of negotiating this text in the run up to the … Continue reading Is the ‘Walker Process’ at the WTO undermining the TRIPS Waiver?