Goyal calls for IPR waiver, dismantling of new trade barriers in the global fight against the pandemic
New Delhi, October 13, 2021
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday called for waiver of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and dismantling of new trade barriers in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our response to the pandemic needs to ensure equitable access to vaccines and other COVID-19 related health products by ensuring quick resolution of the supply-side constraints. One of the ways to demonstrate this is by accepting the TRIPS waiver proposal,” Goyal said in his address to the G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting in Naples, Italy.
He called for the lifting of new trade barriers like vaccine differentiations or COVID passports, which impose mobility restrictions and impede the movement of personnel needed for delivering critical services.
“COVID-19 crisis is a powerful reminder of our inter-connectedness and the need for a coordinated global strategy to overcome such an unprecedented public health situation,” he added.
The Minister underlined the need for an early universal vaccination against COVID-19. “Apart from focusing on facilitating the free flow of goods, I invite G20 countries to join in efforts to make health services accessible and more affordable by the citizens of the world by enabling the free flow of health services.
“As a quick response to the pandemic, our telemedicine initiative ‘e Sanjeevani’ has been serving millions of Indians. I am happy to offer it to the entire world,” he added.
Calling for an equitable and balanced outcome to the trade negotiations in the fisheries sector, Goyal advocated that countries engaged in distant water fishing should stop subsidizing their fishing in high seas and gradually reduce their fishing capacities, particularly, for overfished stocks.
“To achieve balanced outcomes in Fisheries Subsidies, policy space for future is a must, not only to protect the livelihoods of poor and marginal fishermen and address, the food security concerns but also to diversify, modernise and develop the fisheries sector,” he said.
Goyal also discussed the ggreement on joint multilateral positions in Fisheries and other issues with his Australian counterpart during a one-to-one meeting.
In his G20 Ministerial Address, Goyal said India remains committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“India is among the few countries on track to exceed its commitments to the Paris Agreement. We urge the Members to fulfil their commitments regarding Transfer Of Technology and Climate Finance, which are far from being fulfilled by the Developed Countries,” he said.
He noted that sustainability cannot be seen in isolation and has to be linked to making available grant-based, long tenure, low cost and concessional & affordable technologies.
“India has consistently maintained that environmental/sustainability measures need careful assessment to ensure that they do not become new trade barriers and the right forum for them is the dedicated Multilateral Environmental Agreements,” he said.
On the sidelines of the Meeting, Goyal met nearly 15 Ministers to advance India's trade position and negotiated bilateral and multilateral agreements. Among the countries and dignitaries he met were the DG WTO, US, UK, EU, Brazil, China, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Canada, South Korea and Mexico.
He unequivocally put forth the position that India was working towards the success of the upcoming WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (WTO MC12) next month but the outcome should be just and equitable. “Historical wrongs against developing countries must be corrected rather than being carried over,” he added.
In his meetings with the Canadian Minister, Goyal discussed steps to take forward the FTA negotiations with the newly elected Government while he called upon his South Korean and EU counterparts to accelerate the review of the FTA. With the Mexican Minister, he took up cooperation in healthcare. He also met with the DG, WTO to discuss the MC12 agenda.