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Piyush Goyal urges G20 ministers to back India’s patent waiver proposal to win war against Covid-19

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Addressing the G20 Trade and Investment ministerial meeting at Naples in Italy, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal called for actively resolving new trade barriers like vaccine differentiations or COVID passports, which impose mobility restrictions and impede the movement of personnel needed for delivering critical services

India on Tuesday urged the G20 nations to back its proposal on a waiver of Intellectual Property Rights which cover patents and dismantling new trade barriers in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the G20 Trade and Investment ministerial meeting at Naples in Italy, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said, “Our response to the pandemic needs to ensure equitable access to vaccines and other COVID-19 related health products by ensuring quick resolution of supply side constraints. One of the ways to demonstrate this is by accepting the TRIPS waiver proposal.”

The minister called for actively resolving new trade barriers like vaccine differentiations or COVID passports, which impose mobility restrictions and impede the movement of personnel needed for delivering critical services.

“The COVID-19 crisis is a powerful reminder of our inter-connectedness, and the need for a coordinated global strategy to overcome such an unprecedented public health situation,” Goyal said.

He underlined the need for an early universal vaccination against COVID-19.

“Apart from focusing on facilitating free flow of goods, I invite G20 countries to join in efforts to make health services accessible and more affordable by the citizens of the world by enabling free flow of health services,” he said, adding,“as a quick response to the pandemic, I am happy to inform that our telemedicine initiative “e-Sanjeevani”, has been serving millions of Indians. I am happy to offer it to the entire world.”

Calling for an equitable and balanced outcome to the trade negotiations in the fisheries sector, Goyal advocated that countries engaged in distant water fishing should stop subsidizing their fishing in high seas and gradually reduce their fishing capacities, particularly, for overfished stocks.

“To achieve balanced outcomes in Fisheries Subsidies, policy space for the future is a must, not only to protect the livelihoods of poor and marginal fishermen and address the food security concerns but also to diversify, modernise and develop the fisheries sector, he said.

In his G20 ministerial address, Goyal also said India is committed towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

“India is among the few countries which is on track to exceed its commitments as per the Paris Agreement. We urge the members to fulfil their commitments regarding transfer of technology and climate finance, which are far from being fulfilled by the developed countries,” he said.

Goyal said sustainability cannot be seen in isolation and has to be linked to making available grant based, long tenure, low cost and concessional and affordable technologies.

Piyush Goyal also met with nearly 15 ministers on the sidelines of the G20 meeting to advance India's trade position and negotiated bilateral and multilateral agreements. He met the DG WTO and trade ministers of US, UK, EU, Brazil, China, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Canada, South Korea and Mexico.

Also read: Why India-South Africa move to take on Big Pharma is making headway at WTO