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Nirmala Sitharaman meets top WTO official in US amidst India's push for IPR waiver on COVID-19 vaccine

The meeting between Sitharaman and Iweala took place on the sidelines of the World Bank and IMF annual meetings.

October 16, 2021 / 08:18 AM IST

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met the Director General of WTO Ngozi Okonjo Iweala here in the US amidst India’s proposal for a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and medicines worldwide.

The meeting between Sitharaman and Iweala took place on the sidelines of the World Bank and IMF annual meetings.

“Union Finance Minister Smt. @nsitharaman interacts with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala @NOIweala, Director General @WTO on the sidelines of @WorldBank-@IMFNews Annual Meetings 2021 in Washington D.C., today,” the Ministry of Finance said on Twitter.

The meeting assumes significance as India along with South Africa has been pushing for a temporary waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and medicines globally.

India in June suggested to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) members to begin text-based negotiations on the temporary TRIPs waiver proposal to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In October 2020, India and South Africa had 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 this year, a revised proposal was submitted by 62 co-sponsors, including India, South Africa and Indonesia.

The agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPs came into effect in January 1995. It is a multilateral agreement on Intellectual Property (IP) rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets.
PTI
first published: Oct 16, 2021 08:18 am

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