Pascal Lamy, a former WTO boss and EU trade commissioner, also thinks there’s no need to suspend the intellectual property protection of coronavirus-related products granted by the trade body’s rules.
“At the end of the day, IP protection won’t be the problem,” Lamy said, adding that existing WTO rules — the so-called TRIPS agreement — already grant rich and poorer country access to essential medical goods in times of crisis via compulsory licensing. At the same time, Lamy agreed with what he called “well-intentioned NGOs” on the fact that the process to obtain compulsory licensing can be “cumbersome,” especially for poorer countries. But, according to the French trade veteran, IP rules won’t be an obstacle for the circulation of coronavirus products and vaccines around the world.
Refresher: The EU and other WTO members are opposing a proposal from India, South Africa and other countries for a temporary suspension of intellectual property protections for coronavirus medical products and vaccines. The European Commission’s position, echoed by Lamy, already raised criticisms from NGOs and MEPs. More here.