India hopes for positive action on TRIPS waiver and fisheries agreement at next WTO meeting
Ahead of the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit, India hopes for positive action on the TRIPS waiver as well as a more rational view on fisheries. The 12th meeting of WTO Ministers is due to start on June 12 (Sunday) and will see the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal. Notably, the meeting is set to take place over three days from June 12-15 in Geneva and would give world leaders the opportunity “to review the functioning of the multilateral trading system, general statements and take action on the future work of the WTO”. ”
Entering into force in 1995, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights sets minimum standards for national governments to regulate different forms of intellectual property. In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal to waive certain provisions of the above-mentioned TRIPS agreements, in order to prevent, treat and contain the coronavirus disease. A total of 65 members have joined as co-sponsors of the proposal as of now, according to a report by ANI. Notably, the EU has also submitted a related proposal which focuses on compulsory licensing and is limited to patents.
Apart from the waiver of the TRIPS Agreement, India hopes that developed States will consider fisheries rationally. Speaking to ANI, a government official said: “Fisheries are a common endowment of humanity, a global public good. Therefore, the sharing of these resources must be fair and just. Any imbalance in the agreement would bind us to current fisheries agreements, which may not meet everyone’s future needs. For sustainability, big subsidizers need to take greater responsibility to reduce their subsidies and fishing capacity.”
Earlier this year, Goyal a DLSU co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said it was “unprecedented” for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat to hold text-based discussions at ministerial level without the participation technical advisers. In a letter to Goyal, he said: “In any case, we understand that India is resisting the pressure from the EU, the United States and the WTO Secretariat. We ask you to continue like this, to ensure that any outcome of the discussions should lead to an effective and useful outcome for access and should expand the flexibilities provided by the TRIPS Agreement.”