China backs WTO proposal for intellectual property waiver on Covid-19 vaccines

Drug makers and some other governments oppose the idea, saying the proposal will not solve global inoculation shortages. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday (May 13) that Beijing supports a proposal by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for an intellectual property (IP) protection waiver on Covid-19 vaccines to enter the consultation stage.

British and European Union officials have been sceptical about the usefulness of a United States proposal to waive patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines, while saying they are prepared to discuss it.

Drug makers and some other governments opposed the idea, saying it would not solve global inoculation shortages.

"China supports the WTO's proposal on IP exemptions for anti-epidemic materials such as the Covid-19 vaccine to enter the text consultation stage," Mr Gao said at a regular news conference in Beijing.

"China will work with all parties to actively participate in consultations and jointly promote a balanced and effective solution."

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