WTO should allow export of food from public stock to help countries in need: Goyal

Author: Nishu June 14, 2022

WTO should allow export of food from public stock to help countries in need: Goyal

“For India, the response to the pandemic would not be complete without the TRIPS (Trade Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) exemption,” the Union Minister said.

“For India, the response to the pandemic would not be complete without the TRIPS (Trade Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) exemption,” the Union Minister said.

India on Monday strongly suggested to the World Trade Organization to allow exports of food grains from the public stock for international food aid and for humanitarian purposes, especially on a government-to-government basis, as the United Nations’ World Food Organization The program was not able to increase its supply to help. needy nation.

During an agricultural intervention at the WTO session, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the World Food Program (WFP) over the years has demonstrated its inability to increase supplies to countries in crisis.

The United Nations World Food Program works to supply life-saving food to people displaced by conflict or destitute by disasters in more than 120 countries and territories.

Citing the figures, the minister said that in 2020-21, the WFP program can procure only 4.47 million tonnes at a cost of about USD 1.7 billion, which in itself can be used to meet humanitarian crisis or any problem. grossly insufficient to do so. by many countries in terms of their food security.

He said that countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan need food supply.

Help countries in crisis

India has food grains in its public stock holding programme, which can be used to help friendly neighbours, distressed countries, less developed countries and the poor and vulnerable sections of the society.

“I fail to understand what is stopping the WTO and its members from allowing government purchases from the government for humanitarian purposes, in the event of a problem, when food security is threatened. All that (supply ) may (have been) done on very transparent terms,” ​​Mr Goyal said.

“We recognize that the WFP itself has hardly contributed in any significant way to world food security. In addition to their limitations of the program and of trying to tell the world that the World Trade Organization and its members address world food concerns, Have actually done something to do. Security, it’s not going to change the landscape significantly,” he said.

He said that there are many countries which have public stock holdings which can provide immediate relief to their neighbours, other countries in distress.

Because of this, India has proposed that “we give exemptions for government-to-government procurement between countries so that we can support other countries especially during humanitarian crisis,” the minister said.

He also expressed concern that the issue of finding a permanent solution to the issue of Public Stock Holdings (PSH) grains for food security purposes.

Referring to a text, he said: “Para 12 is already assuming that the PSH will not be finalized in this Ministerial. I think it is extremely sad that a program that has been under consideration for many decades, on which the world It has been agreed by the trade organization. In 2013, ratified by the General Council in 2014, confirmed in 2015 still not being finalized…” He added that the issue was not pushed under the carpet. should go.

The pandemic response would not be complete without the TRIPS waiver

The package of measures, which the WTO is negotiating here as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, should include India and South Africa’s patent waiver proposal as it will help combat the disease, Mr. Goyal said.

“For India, the response to the pandemic would not be complete without the TRIPS (Trade Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) exemption,” the Union Minister said.

He was speaking at the MC 12 (WTO Ministerial Conference) thematic session in response to the pandemic and TRIPS relaxation.

For the past year and a half, Goyal said, India and South Africa and 63 co-sponsors of the exemption offer have urged the membership of the WTO to adopt the TRIPS waiver proposal to massively scale up the production of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. was. Combat the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing supply and ensuring equitable and affordable access.

He said that it is a matter of regret that the discussions in the TRIPS Council have reached an impasse.

Key elements of the text, which talks about the WTO’s response to the pandemic, include the TRIPS exemption proposal, food security, how trade should be facilitated in times of pandemic, export restrictions, trade measures, transparency and the service sector. role is involved. ,

issues for india

India has issues regarding transparency, export restrictions and openness of the market.

Goyal said that any tinkering in this delicately crafted document would expose months of complicated negotiations and run the risk of failing the outcome that we are close to achieving.

He said the WTO response to the pandemic and the TRIPS exemption should be finalized simultaneously.

“It is of paramount importance to us to initiate conversations on therapeutics and diagnostics. We cannot have a pandemic response that does not provide an effective and practical outcome on TRIPS, nor do we agree to any pre-shipment notification requirements can,” said Mr. Goyal.

He emphasized that WTO members should redouble their efforts and begin dialogue on therapeutics and diagnostics, as the pandemic is not over, especially with developing countries, including the least developed countries. Huh.

“While vaccines were for preventive needs, we need to accelerate the creation of therapeutics and diagnostics to achieve a comprehensive testing and treatment strategy,” he said.

no shortage of vaccines

Furthermore, he said that there is no longer a shortage of vaccines as there are enough and affordable stocks available across the world.

In fact vaccines are now doomed due to expiration dates, despite there still being some clauses, he said, opposing the inclusion of therapeutics and diagnostics that could at least pave the way for future need. . Tackle any crisis.

“If we are only considering making vaccines available, I think it is too late in the day for that. The pandemic has run its initial course. Vaccines are currently in short supply and if we look closely So I think it’s pretty clear that instead of worrying for humanity, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, for the millions affected.” “It is sad that the super profits of some pharma companies dominate the global good,” he said.

In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted the first proposal suggesting exemptions for all WTO members on the implementation of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement with regard to the prevention, prevention or treatment of COVID-19. A revised proposal was submitted by him in May 2021.

The Agreement on TRIPS came into effect in January 1995. It is a multilateral agreement on the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyrights, industrial designs, patents and unknown information or trade secrets.

The WTO is a 164-member multilateral body that formulates rules for global exports and imports and decides disputes between two or more countries on trade-related issues.

14 June, 2022, 12:18 am

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