Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry, Railways, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public distribution had a virtual meeting with Ambassador Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative on 14th May 2021. The meeting focused on increasing vaccine availability in an inclusive and equitable manner to combat the Global pandemic caused by Covid-19.
The proposal of India on waiver of certain TRIPS provisions to increase global vaccine production in order to take on the challenge of vaccinating the poorest of the poor and save lives was also discussed. The Minister thanked the USTR for the US announcing its support for India’s proposal. The Minister mentioned the supply chains for the vaccine manufacturers must be kept open and unbridled as the entire world is in dire need of vaccines. Both sides agreed to work towards the common resolve of increasing vaccine availability and saving lives.
During the meeting, Tai conveyed her deep sympathy for the people of India as the country battles a deadly wave of Covid-19 and reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to help India, the USTR said in a readout of the call.
India is in the midst of a deadly wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with 3,43,144 people testing positive for the virus on Friday, taking the country’s caseload to 2,40,46,809. The death toll stands at 2,62,317.
India’s Covid-19 tally crossed the 10 million mark on December 19 and in under six months it has doubled, surpassing the grim milestone of 20 million cases on May 4.
Tai explained her support for the waiver of intellectual property (IP) protections for Covid-19 vaccines and text-based negotiations at the WTO, which are part of the Joe Biden administration’s comprehensive effort to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution around the world.