Grant waiver to members to produce vaccines to expedite global economic recovery – Alan to WTO

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Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen has proposed to the World Trade Organization (WTO) the granting of a waiver through the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council to empower Members to produce vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for especially developing and least developing-country members, with a view to alleviating their suffering, and expediting the global recovery process.

He said this in a statement at the plenary session of the 12th ministerial conference of the world trade organization, which opened on June 12, in Geneva, Switzerland.

TRIPS plays a central role in facilitating trade in knowledge and creativity, in resolving trade disputes over IP, and in assuring WTO members the latitude to achieve their domestic policy objectives

“At the national level, Ghana is in the process of establishing a Vaccine Manufacturing plant and a National Vaccine Institute to facilitate the production of vaccines,” Mr Kyerematen said.

On agriculture, he said reiterated the negative effects of domestic support measures of some developed-country members, which have serious implications for agricultural development and rural livelihood improvement, adding that, “correcting the existing distortions and systemic imbalances in agriculture trade, particularly through disciplines on domestic support is, therefore, a priority at this Ministerial conference.”

Mr Kyerematen said Ghana supports the draft Ministerial Decision on Food insecurity in Net Food Importing Developing Countries (NFIDCs) and LDCs and call upon all WTO Members to adopt this decision at the conference, adding that, there was the need for  a balanced outcome the agreement on Fisheries  that adheres to the mandate of SDG14.6. “Any outcome at this conference must safeguard the economic livelihoods of subsistence and artisanal fisher folks through meaningful Special and Differential Treatment provisions,” he said.

He said Ghana  supports the call for the reinstitution of a fully functional dispute settlement mechanism, including the appellate body, in order to re-establish trust, security and predictability in the WTO.

Mr Kyherematen said the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have shaken the very foundations of the multilateral trading regime, adding that, “the headwinds against free trade have been so strong that if there was ever a time that the role and mandate of the WTO is being seriously questioned, then that time is now. “ 

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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