G7 nations to propose time-limited IP waiver on Covid-19 vaccines: Macron

a man wearing a wet suit standing on a beach: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the G7 leaders meet. (AP) © Provided by Hindustan Times Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the G7 leaders meet. (AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said that the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies have decided to put a proposal with South Africa that would allow them to work on time- and space-limited exemption of the intellectual property (IP) on vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Ahead of the first meeting of the G7 Leaders’ Summit, Macron said that the group defends fair remuneration of innovation and the respect of intellectual property rights.

India and South Africa have been pushing for a waiver for all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of a 1995 intellectual property rights agreement in order to boost Covid-19 prevention, containment or treatment. The proposal has received support from US President Joe Biden but WTO members like Germany have opposed any kind of waiver.

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Macron said that G7 countries have worked on the initial proposal from India and South Africa and they want to continue working on it with the WTO, World Health Organization (WTO), and all other partners. “But I hope that it will lead to an agreement at this G7 summit,” the French president added.

Macron also encouraged the idea of Covid-19 vaccines donation by pharmaceutical companies in the short term, which would complement the decision of the United States to share half a billion doses of Covid vaccines to struggling nations around the world. Speaking on Thursday ahead of the G7 meet, Biden said that the United States is going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside its global partners, adding that the G-7 nations would join the US in outlining their vaccine donation commitments.

G7 nations comprise the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan. The UK holds the presidency for G7 Leaders’ Summit 2021 and has invited India, along with Australia, South Korea and South Africa as guest countries. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa left the country on Friday for the G7 Summit in Cornwall, southwestern England, where he will be joining other world leaders.

The multilateral agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) provides for copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets. A temporary Trips waiver for certain provisions is supposed to enable greater access to Covid-19 vaccines, particularly in middle- and low-income countries.

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G7 nations to propose time-limited IP waiver on Covid-19 vaccines: Macron