New Delhi: China on Monday voiced its support for waiving intellectual property protections for novel coronavirus vaccines to help developing nations suffering from the ongoing pandemic.
“China fully understands and supports the developing world’s demand for an IPR waiver for COVID-19 vaccines,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing.
Asked about China’s stand on the issue, Zhao told reporters at a foreign ministry press conference that “China will continue to make a contribution to the fairness and accessibility of vaccines in developing countries.”
The Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) proposal was initially submitted by India and South Africa at WTO.
The US Trade representative said in a statement earlier this month that the administration of President Joe Biden will support the intellectual property waiver “in service of ending this pandemic.
The proposal has now been co-sponsored by Kenya, Eswatini, Mozambique, Pakistan, Bolivia, Venezuela, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, the African Group, the Least Developed Countries Group, and most recently Maldives, Fiji and Namibia SRJ — a total of 60 WTO members.
Zhao said the world is yet to emerge from the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines are powerful weapons to defeat the virus. “As the largest developing country and a responsible member of the international community, China will do all things that are conducive to developing countries’ fight against the virus and support all actions that can help developing countries acquire vaccines in an equitable way.”
Saying that COVID-19 vaccines are a “global public good”, Zhao, according to the transcript of his statement accessed here, said China calls on countries with the capacity to do so to support and help developing countries acquire vaccines with concrete actions.