WTO mulling intellectual property waivers for vaccines




GENEVA (AP) — Ambassadors from World Trade Organization countries on Wednesday resumed discussions on trade rules protecting the technological know-how behind COVID-19 vaccines amid growing pressure on rich nations to relax them — as a way to help poorer countries fight the pandemic.

The WTO’s General Council was taking up a temporary waiver for intellectual property protections that South Africa and India first proposed in October. The idea has gained support in the developing world and among some progressive lawmakers in the West.

Authors of the proposal, which has faced resistance from many countries with influential pharmaceutical and biotech industries, have been revising it in hopes of making it more palatable.

No consensus — which is required under WTO rules — was expected to emerge from the ambassadors’ two-day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday.

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