India appreciates Biden admin's decision to back TRIPS waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

The US had stated that it in the service of ending the COVID-19 pandemic, it supported the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.
Joe Biden with his arms crossed and the US flag on his left
Joe Biden with his arms crossed and the US flag on his left
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India has appreciated the Biden administration's decision to support a proposal moved by it and South Africa to temporarily waive some Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For the past several weeks, India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, along with the diplomats from South Africa, had been meeting US lawmakers and officials regarding the proposal. "We appreciate the US administration's announcement today of its support for waiver of IPR for COVID-19 vaccines, Sandhu told PTI on Wednesday.

Making the announcement, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said this is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. "The (Biden) administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” Tai said in a major policy announcement.

A majority of Democratic Congressmen had written to President Joe Biden urging him to back the proposal so that vaccines can be made accessible and affordable. "We also thank the large number of US Senators and Congresspersons who expressed their support. We will continue to work with all stakeholders in the US to collectively fight the global pandemic including through equitable distribution of affordable vaccines for global public health at this critical juncture, Sandhu said in response to a question.

In the past few months, the Indian Embassy had made a focused outreach on the need for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in the developing world. The embassy methodically reached out to the members of the House and Senate. This was reflected in the series of letters that the US lawmakers wrote to President Biden in support.

In recent months, Sandhu has spoken on this issue to Senators Ed Markey and Raphael Warnock; Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Assistant Speaker; Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chair of House Foreign Affairs Committee; Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Chair of the Progressive Caucus; Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Congressman Ro Khanna.

A joint outreach was also undertaken with the South African Embassy in Washington DC and together, the two envoys had underscored the importance of the issue with Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health.

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