Australian unions and civil society urge government to support trade rules change for equal access to vaccines
March 10, 2021: AFTINET joined other Australian civil society organisations yesterday to urge the Australian Government to support the proposal sponsored by India and South Africa to waive certain provisions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposal for a waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement is urgently needed to enable developing countries to respond to the pandemic. The waiver would be on the patents, trade secrets, copyright, and industrial designs aspects of the agreement, for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The waiver proposal will cover COVID-19 medical products including medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, and other technologies such as masks and ventilators, and would allow developing countries to expand production and access to these much-needed supplies during the pandemic.
The organisations also called on the Australian government to join the World Health Organisation COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (or C-TAP) – a mechanism launched last year to facilitate the sharing of know-how and intellectual property to enable any manufacturer or government to produce COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and other health technologies.
The signatories are the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA, ActionAid, the Public Health Association, AFTINET, AidWatch, Friends of the Earth Australia, Oxfam Australia, Jubilee Australia, Uniting church in Australia Victoria & Tasmania Synod, St Columbans Mission Society, Caritas Australia, St Vincent De Paul Society, Australian Council for International Development, ChildFund Australia, Good Return, the Salvation Army.