WTO wakes up to humanitarian crises


Photo Credit Twitter Piyush Goyal

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 17: After years of hibernation, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has woken up to two of the gravest challenges faced by the humanity — the Covid-19 vaccine equity and food security.

Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal has claimed fulsome success to India’s key demands from the multilateral body.

The partial relaxation in the intellectual property rights (IPRs) for the vaccines is in line with the demands of the developing countries from the WTO to take note of the vaccine inequities.

Additionally, the World Food Programme (WFP) can source foodgrains to meet the needs of the food securities in the developing and underdeveloped countries, which again is in line with the Indian demand from the multilateral agency to take note of the deepening food crisis in parts of the world.

The WTO’s adoption of the resolution to check unregulated fishing should also be seen in the positive light given than China alone is responsible for 95 per cent of the illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific region to artificially manipulate the fisheries trade in the world.

“India has been able to secure a favourable outcome at the WTO after many years, despite a strong global campaign against our farmers and fishermen,” said Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal, after conclusion of the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva.

Terming the just concluded MC12 as an “outcome oriented” success, Goyal said: “Few countries attempted to create false campaign, initially on Sunday and Monday, that India is obstinate due to which no progress is being made. India played a vital role in arriving at all solutions.”

“There have been no restrictions on fishing that our fishermen were deeply concerned about that would bind artisanal and traditional fishermen of India in the future. No restrictions have been placed on India in introducing checks on illegal fishing, under-reporting or outside regulation,” added Goyal.

Goyal said the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) decision will boost vaccine equity, accessibility and affordability. “It will enable ease of authorisation for production of patented vaccines and India can produce for domestic requirements and exports,” added Goyal.

The WTO has resolved that there would be a check on illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, with strict controls on overfished areas so that fish stocks are restored. Additionally, there will be no subsidies to be provided for fishing in areas outside EEZ (exclusive economic zones).

The TRIPS decision will boost export, vaccine equity, accessibility and affordability, as a country can authorize production of vaccines patented elsewhere and there would be no consent required as well as there would be no limit on exports. A decision on diagnostics/therapeutics would be taken in six months.


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