Arcane WTO Pact Takes Center Stage in Vaccine Equity Debate



Bryce Baschuk | Bloomberg

In the World Trade Organization’s alphabet soup vocabulary, one particular acronym is gaining a lot of attention: TRIPs.

Shorthand for the Geneva-based group’s agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual-property rights, TRIPs sets enforceable rules for the protection of trademarks, designs, inventions and other intangible goods in international trade.

Today this arcane 1995 agreement has re-entered the political lexicon as a potential tool to save lives and ensure fairness in the pandemic.

India and South Africa have offered a proposal that seeks a broad waiver from the TRIPs agreement’s rules on the production and export of vaccines and other critical medical goods needed to combat the Covid-19 virus.

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