WTO: India against market access, tariff link with Covid response to WTO: Government

India has said it is concerned about the permanent disciplines in the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and does not want to combine the challenges of the pandemic with areas such as such as market access, reforms, export restrictions and transparency.

On the issue of a waiver of the global agreement on intellectual property rights to fight the pandemic, the government said that India’s pharmaceutical industry has recognized this although the draft text that has emerged does not reflect the result envisaged by India. “India wants the WTO’s response to address supply-side constraints to make the WTO’s pandemic response and outcomes credible,” the Ministry of Commerce and Trade said on Saturday. Industry in a press release.

India’s statement is significant because a leaked text of the draft pandemic response statement dated June 10 does not detail any of the planned actions. The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference will address these issues from June 12-15 in Geneva. Currently, negotiations are based on text that includes outcomes on transparency and surveillance, keeping markets open, not imposing new export restrictions, accelerating trade facilitation and prices.

India and South Africa, backed by 65 WTO members, want a waiver of certain provisions on copyrights, industrial designs, patents and the protection of undisclosed information in the agreement on commercial aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) for the prevention, containment or treatment of Covid -19. India wants the waiver proposal to be part of the WTO pandemic response package.

India said it wanted a reaffirmation of the TRIPS waiver decision as part of the statement of responses. “Some developed countries (EU, US, UK, Canada) are seeking to include elements relating to limiting the scope of export restrictions, seeking permanent disciplines with respect to facilitating measures trade, improving market access and limiting the scope of the waiver to the TRIPS Agreement”. said the ministry.

“At present, India is constructively engaging in the WTO for the finalization of elements on the WTO response to the pandemic,” he said. Regarding the ADPIC derogation proposal, the ministry indicated that it had organized a few consultation meetings with the ministries concerned and the players in the sector on this subject. “The Indian pharmaceutical industry has recognized this although the draft text that has emerged does not reflect India’s intended outcome; Still, it is an important step to pressure the international pharmaceutical community to provide voluntary licenses for Covid vaccines,” he said.

Agricultural issues, including public stockholding (PSH) for food security, are a crucial area for negotiations at the upcoming ministerial meeting. New Delhi said that it “does not want to link the PSH issue with other agricultural issues or work program because the negotiation of a permanent solution has a stand-alone mandate in the WTO. Furthermore, it fears make notification requirements onerous for developing countries given sensitivities regarding shortages, price spikes and implications of prior notification of such measures on policy effectiveness. Food exports under the UN World Food Program are a concern for India given national food security, the government said.

On WTO reforms, India said it believed that the reform process and its outcomes should not modify or affect in any way the rights and obligations of Members under the WTO Agreements. WTO and agreed mandates and that the agreed rules of procedure of the General Council would apply. to the review process.

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