USCIB joined a multi-industry letter to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala regarding the ongoing discussions of a waiver of certain intellectual property (IP) rights for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19.
Serving as representative for Business Partners to CONVINCE, an initiative of The USCIB Foundation, Brian Lowry, USCIB senior vice president, wanted to ensure that USCIB was doing its part to help improve vaccine availability.
“Fundamentally, the letter raises concerns about the practical impact of the waiver of IP rights on the real issues of distribution and administration of the vaccines,” Lowry said. “The challenges here are multifaceted and need a holistic approach, rather than one narrowly focused on intellectual property. There are trade-related obstacles that are preventing timely – and equitable – access to these critical products.”
The letter highlights genuine trade barriers such as export restrictions and technical regulations, quarantine obligations on essential transport and logistics services providers, as well as the removal or reduction of tariffs on goods that are considered essential to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter also stated that industry agrees with world leaders that “nobody is safe, until everyone is safe” and is proud of how many companies have mobilized and shifted resources to help meet this challenge.
In addition to USCIB, the letter was signed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, BusinessEurope, the Federation of Korean Industries, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Global Innovation Policy Center.