GENEVA (Reuters) – The head of the World Trade Organization welcomed on Thursday the U.S. move to support waiving patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines and urged WTO members to start negotiations as soon as possible.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told member states that she “warmly welcomed” U.S. willingness to engage with the proponents of the temporary waiver to the WTO’s TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement.
“We need to respond urgently to COVID-19 because the world is watching and people are dying,” she said in a statement read by a WTO spokesman after the closed-door meeting.
“I am pleased that the proponents are preparing a revision to their proposal and I urge them to put this on the table as soon as possible so that text-based negotiations can commence.”
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