Catherine Tai also commented on the proposal to waive intellectual property rights for vaccines.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Wednesday stressed the need to increase the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine worldwide and commented on the proposal to waive partially intellectual property rights for vaccines.
Speaking at the Financial Times event, Tai said that all decisions on the vaccine situation are made with the need to expand access and “save lives” in mind. This also applies to the US approach to requests from India, South Africa, and other developing countries to waive intellectual property rights related to vaccines.
The United States and some other countries with a developed pharmaceutical industry consider the proposed exceptions to the rules on intellectual property to be too large. The proposal is expected to be discussed at the World Trade Organization’s General Council on Wednesday.
“As with everything about this pandemic, the time factor is crucial here,” Tai said when asked about the timing of the decision on the waivers proposed by India and South Africa. On Tuesday, Tai stressed that increasing access to vaccines around the world is necessary to end the pandemic and accelerate economic recovery. A majority of Democrats in the House of Representatives have called on President Joe Biden’s administration to support the waiver.