China on May 17, 2021, said that it will support India’s and South Africa’s proposal for a temporary waiver of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for coronavirus vaccines. It further mentioned that Beijing will contribute to all actions of the developing countries to help them in their fight against coronavirus.
India and South Africa, in October 2020, had requested the World Health Organization (WHO) for TRIPS waiver of certain IP provisions of COVID-19 vaccines so that that developing countries can amplify vaccine production and provide access to COVID vaccines to the poorest of the poor people.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a press briefing that China, as the largest developing country is supportive of the developing world’s demand for an IPR waiver for COVID-19 vaccines. He further said that China will back all actions so that developing countries can acquire vaccines in an equitable way to fight against the coronavirus.
China and COVID-19 vaccine: Key Points
•China has also been working with over 10 developing countries, including the UAE and Egypt to facilitate cooperative production and technology transfer to increase the large-scale production of vaccines.
•China has five COVID-19 vaccines, of which WHO, on May 7, 2021, authorized China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
•The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
•China has so far distributed millions of domestically-made COVID-19 vaccine assistance to three international organizations and vaccine assistance to over 50 countries.
•China will be supplying 10 million vaccines to COVAX, a global vaccine distribution campaign supported by the WHO.
What is TRIPS Agreement?
•TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) is an international agreement among the member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
•TRIPS establishes standards and regulations protection of IP (intellectual property) rights like industrial designs, patents, copyright, and protection of confidential information or trade secrets.
•TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) came into effect in January 1995.
•TRIPS enables each WTO member countries to negotiate compulsory licenses for each patent or protection applying to each product.
•The concern of the developing countries in 2001 over the narrow reading of TRIPS by developed countries led to a round of talks that later became the Doha Declaration, a WTO statement that enlists the scope of TRIPS.