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India seeks emergency meeting of WTO's General Council this month to discuss COVID package

Discussions on patent waiver sought

India has sought an emergency meeting of the General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) this month in Geneva to deliberate upon the world trade body’s proposed response package, including patent waiver proposal, to deal with the pandemic amid rising coronavirus infections globally, an official said.

The General Council is WTO’s highest decision-making body in Geneva.

Expressing disappointment over no progress on TRIPs (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) waiver proposal to deal with the pandemic, India has called for including this proposal into WTO’s proposed response package.

In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted the first proposal, suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation of certain provisions of the TRIPs agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19. In May 2021, a revised proposal was submitted. TRIPs came into effect in January 1995.

“We have sought an emergency meeting of the General Council to discuss the WTO’s response package to deal with COVID-19 pandemic including patent waiver proposal. WTO will start its meetings from January 10,” the official said.

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