The US will support a call to protect the Covid-19 vaccine, as well as efforts to increase global availability and access to life-saving ammunition as the gap between rich and poor countries widens.
“We are forgiving at the WTO, we are at the point where opponents want to try to achieve, which is a good opportunity, the ability to do more, clap hands,” US Trade spokeswoman Katherine Tai said in a statement Wednesday.
Biden officials have now taken part in discussions on World Trade Organization standards and urged other countries to back them up, Tai said.
He acknowledged that the negotiations would take time and that it would “not be easy,” given the complexity of the issue and that the WTO in Geneva is a member-led body that can only make decisions based on agreement.
“As far as WTO is concerned – it depends on WTO members, all of them, the ability to deliver, so I’m the first to acknowledge that what we rely on is a process that won’t be easy,” Tai said. He also said he was seeing strength from WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala “to take this opportunity and see what the WTO can do.”
India and South Africa, two countries in the fight against the new Covid-19 explosion, have been urging WTO members to suspend IP freedom laws, saying they are the best way to address the vaccine crisis in developing countries.
The US is not the only country that has so far banned funding for the donor. The European Union, UK, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and Norway also denied the allegations. However, sponsors say the U.S. leadership in this regard could help improve some. The time allowed will depend on how member states can find a common ground.
“Given the risks, this is a great opportunity for the WTO to come together to provide something that will help the people and make a difference,” Tai said.
The move has been criticized by drug manufacturers, who say the system is ineffective. He argues that only a few countries have the potential to develop more vaccines even if they know their methods. In addition, there are fewer global requirements for basic necessities, and the development of new industries and the necessary technology to develop vaccines could take years, he says.
As the number of infectious diseases in the United States has increased and decreased in recent weeks, the White House has been pressured by progressive Democrats and health advocates to take action on the issue when India is particularly prone to death and disease.
As the trade talks continued, Tai met with the CEOs of all vaccination companies and invited Congress members and others involved in cultural and health organizations.
At the WTO meeting on Wednesday, India and South Africa agreed to revise their ideas, which were first launched in October, to present to members at a conference scheduled for the second half of May.
The Role of Okonjo-Iweala
A WTO spokesman told reporters that Okonjo-Iweala was encouraged by India and South Africa’s willingness to address the concerns of other countries on the rewritten comments.
Given the US position, Tai and the Biden team need to develop an anti-stakeholder sentiment to ensure that its outcome can save lives while not hindering new ones.
While progressive policymakers, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have pushed to the White House to support the donations, pharmaceutical companies say providing vaccination expertise to China and Russia could jeopardize their ability to compete.
In April, Tai appealed to pharmaceutical companies to make a donation.
“The enormous needs of our people in this scourge give these companies the opportunity to become the heroes they claim to be – and they can be,” he said at a meeting at the WTO. “As governments and leaders of international organizations, people need greater courage and commitment in times of crisis. The same must be demanded by companies.”