Sitharaman Urges Nations to Share Technology, Says No Time For Vaccine Nationalism

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman urged nations to share technologies on COVID vaccines amid the pandemic on Monday, stressing that there cannot be any vaccine nationalism. She also suggested examining the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sitharaman spoke at the annual meet of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and said that the countries will have to be open about sharing the vaccine based technologies and the TRIPS agreement will have to be seen in the context of the pandemic. There cannot be any more vaccine nationalism, countries will have to be flexible about it,” said the Finance Minister.


What is the TRIPS agreement?

The TRIPS agreement is a legal pact that is made between all the nations who are a part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The pact establishes a minimum standard for regulation by the national governments of different forms of intellectual property as applied to nationals of other WTO member nations.

Under the pact, the members of WTO are given free choice to determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of the Agreement within their own legal system and practice.

The agreement that has been in force since January 1995 states that the WTO members may not apply any discriminatory measures against foreign products or apply any measure that leads to quantitative restrictions. Applying any of these kinds of measures violate the basic WTO principle.

What else did Nirmala Sitharaman say?

Sitharaman, participating in a virtual seminar said that there is a need to have a global multilateral approach to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. She also said that the future will have to be based on principles of openness, fairness, sustainability, transparency and inclusiveness.

Speaking about the global climate action, the Indian Finance Minister said that India is committed to all the Paris agreement based commitments and is on a path to fulfil all the commitments.

Sitharaman also talked about the government of India and how it is making an effort to keep the wheels of the economy running during the grave pandemic and said that the government has extended its financial assistance to various sectors.

She also said that the government has extended financial assistance in terms of a Rs 3 lakh crore loan guarantee to help the MSMEs amid the pandemic, as they are the backbone of the economy.