WASHINGTON — World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on a waiver of intellectual property rights for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines could take months — provided they can overcome significant opposition from some member countries, trade experts say.
The talks also are likely to focus on a waiver that is significantly narrower in scope and shorter in duration than the one initially proposed by India and South Africa last October.
Prior to US President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s decision on Wednesday to back talks for a vaccine waiver, the two countries confirmed their intention to draft a new proposal after seven months of opposition.
WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed Mr. Biden’s move on Thursday and urged talks on the new plan to start as soon as possible. “The world is watching and people are dying,” she added.
“At a minimum, it’s going to be a month or two,” Clete Willems, … Read the rest