Recently, US revealed its intentions on Intellectual Property Rights waiver at the World Trade Organization. Just after the announcement, many poor countries lauded the move. Meanwhile, the EU response remained lukewarm. The EU leaders believe that these waivers are effective in the long term, but the world needs faster solutions.
The European Union and its Demands
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The leaders at the European Union are facing a vaccine shortage. This is mostly driven by the export restriction on vaccines by the US. As a result, the European Union has urged the U.S. to lift restrictions on exports of Covid-19 vaccines. The EU argues that given the stockpiles of vaccines at the US’s disposal it would be better to release them in short term and think about IP rights later.
Assembling in Portugal, the EU leaders in unison suggested the US follow them and export some of its huge stockpile of vaccines. They argued that any patent waiver will only increase supply in the long term and the world needs a faster solution.
Speaking to reporters Angela Merkel said that she believes a large portion of the American population is vaccinated. Thus, the US needs to open up exports and also exchange the required raw materials. She marked the contribution of the EU in sharing its resources with rest of the world.
The EU and US
It should be noted that the Eu has exported almost half of its produced doses. This is in contrast to the US, which almost used up all vaccine doses produced in the country. The US now has almost a third of its population fully vaccinated. While vaccination in many parts of the world is still faltering.
According to the EU, there is doubt as to how the US move on IP rights would work out. They remain skeptical about the plan and believe that WTO negotiations could take many months or longer. As time is of the essence, it would be better to improve the supply of vaccines and raw materials for now. The EU said it prefers to improving supply chains for now and to sit at WTO to resolve patent issues later.
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