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Biden's Silence on an Intellectual Property Waiver Speaks Volumes

9 9 4
14.05.2022

Just over a year ago, on May 5, 2021, the Biden administration pledged that it would support ​"waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines" at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in order to expand global access to cheaper, generic versions of vaccines.

The efforts to suspend intellectual property rules at the WTO were notably missing from the White House's summit fact sheet.

At the Second Global Covid-19 Summit this May 12, co-hosted by the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal, a key goal was to ​"accelerate collective efforts to get shots into arms." Yet a power lineup of top U.S. officials—President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and Secretary of State Antony Blinken—failed to mention the WTO effort in their public remarks.

At the first Global Covid-19 Summit, which took place last September, the administration mentioned the need for a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver for vaccines as one of its key takeaways. This time, the efforts to suspend intellectual property rules at the WTO were notably missing from the White House's summit fact sheet.

The omission at this second summit rankled some public health activists. ​"Without addressing all the barriers to sharing technology across the globe, the summit ends up being about charity (which remains woefully insufficient) instead of the justice we need to see," Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch,........

© Common Dreams


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