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Macron backs India-S. Africa stand on patent waiver for vaccines, to discuss issue at G7 meet

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French President Emmanuel Macron has come out in favour of the India-South Africa proposal tabled at the World Trade Organisation for a temporary waiver on the patents for COVID-19 vaccines

French President Emmanuel Macron has come out in favour of the India-South Africa proposal tabled at the World Trade Organisation for a temporary waiver on the patents for COVID-19 vaccines ahead of G7 summit in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also be virtually participating.

At a press conference in Paris, Macron said France will raise the issue at the two-day G7 summit which kicks off today (June12). "It is an initial proposal from India and South Africa that we have reworked, that we still want to work with the WHO, the WTO, our partners. But I hope that it will precisely allow an agreement during this G7," he said.

"And for me, it is the principle that should govern our work. Intellectual property must never block these transfers of technology and the capacity to produce," Macron said.

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

"That's why we decided to put on the table with South Africa for this G7 a proposal also allowing to work on a derogation limited in time and space of this intellectual property," he said.

He said the countries must ensure that intellectual property rights will never be an obstacle in the access to vaccines.

At the same time, he mentioned the need for fair remuneration for innovation and respect for intellectual property.

The details of Macron's press conference were put out by the French embassy in New Delhi.

Raw materials for vaccines

He also called for easing the supply of raw materials for the production of coronavirus vaccines to India and some other countries in order to ramp up manufacturing of doses for their own requirement as well to help the African region.

Also Read: Is France under Macron returning to its "third pole" roots?

He said France and South Africa will propose at the G7 summit that nations should work on exemptions for intellectual property rights as patents must not create obstacles in increasing the production of coronavirus vaccines.

Leaders of G7 countries France, Germany, Japan, the UK, the US, Italy and Canada are holding a summit in the British resort of Cornwall from a focus on exploring ways to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

"As we know, there have been export bans by several G7 member countries which have blocked production in other countries....I will take just one example, India," he said.

"India, and in particular the Serum Institute of India, has been blocked in its production by export restrictions on the ingredients needed to produce these vaccines from certain G7 economies," the French president said.

"These restrictions must be lifted both so that India can produce more for itself and so that it can very quickly supply the Africans in particular, who are very dependent on its production," he pointed out.