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The US Trade King meets trade unions and companies as pressure is on to give up intellectual property rights to increase vaccination.


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Katherine C. Tai speaks before Senate Finance committee hearings to consider her nomination for US Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador, in Washington, DC

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US trade owner Katherine Tai is meeting with trade unions, industry executives and lobbying groups as Washington faces increased pressure to support a temporary relinquishment of ownership. intellectual property to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination around the world.

U.S. Trade Representative Tai, who helped broker the deal on Sunday in a thorny trade lawsuit involving South Korean battery manufacturers, is looking for input ahead of the Trade Organization meeting Virtual World trade on this issue on Wednesday.

Tai has met with representatives from more than 20 trade unions, including the AFL-CIO, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Air Stewardess Association, her office said.

She underlined the Biden administration’s commitment to increasing COVID-19 production and distribution, both domestically and worldwide, the USTR said, seeking the institutions’ views on increased Vaccine supply and prevent the emergence and spread of new variants.

Biden’s top trade negotiator also met with officials from eight groups, including Public Citizen, Oxfam America, Human Rights Watch and Doctor Without Borders, who wanted Washington to change course and allow an increase. vaccine production intensified.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will summon major producers, bank officials and ministers from rich and developing countries on Wednesday to discuss vaccine export restrictions and from give up IP rights to the drug COVID-19.

Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters on Monday that she believes members can break the current deadlock on the waiver of intellectual property rights, but no details of a possible compromise are possible.

Dozens of countries are supporting India and South Africa’s proposal to suspend COVID-19 vaccine and other medical patents to accelerate technology transfer to manufacturers with manufacturing capacity. backup, but the United States, Great Britain and other rich countries have blocked this measure.

Obtaining approval for this plan requires the consensus of the 164 WTO members.

Major pharmaceutical companies oppose to abandon patents and say that the right patent protections ensure that private investors have an incentive to pump money into research and development.

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