Outcomes of the MC12
- There are significant gains for some and some are on the losing side in the recently concluded 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- From past two years India and South Africa are pushing for a waiver of temporarily suspending the protection of intellectual property rights.
- This includes patents, copyrights, industrial designs and trade secrets.
- This proposal from these two countries were mainly for production of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to fight against the pandemic.
- This proposal from India and South Africa had garnered the support of more than hundred countries.
- It was the developed countries which included Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland and the United States which were on the opposite side.
EU – The Real Winner:
- European Union (EU) came up with a counter-proposal to undermine the proposal made by India and South Africa.
- This counter proposal provided a cosmetic simplification in certain procedural aspects of compulsory licensing in patent rules.
- By March 2022, India and South Africa were compelled into accepting the EU’s proposal. This formed the basis of the final outcome at the MC12.
- This has provided for a image makeover for the EU as it can now look in the eye of its civil society organisations and confidently say that it has done its bit to save the world from COVID-19.
Challenges for India:
- Despite India having the support of more than 80 developing countries, the issue of public stockholding was not addressed.
- Regarding the raising taxes for the electronic transmissions, India has failed to secure any gains from it.
- Overall, the path ahead for India at the WTO is difficult. India’s negotiators need to undertake soul searching to learn lessons from the dynamics at the MC12, and make course corrections.
Source The Hindu
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