Caricom trade ministers to discuss covid19 vaccines

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. - SUREASH CHOLAI
Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. - SUREASH CHOLAI

TRADE and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon will lead Trinidad and Tobago’s delegation to virtually participate in regional discussions on trade policy at the 52nd Ministerial Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) from June 1-2.

This was said in a release from the ministry.

High on the agenda will be discussions taking place at the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding a proposal for a waiver on intellectual property rights for patented pharmaceutical products including covid19 vaccines.

The proposal was raised during a WTO meeting in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month.

A Voice of America report on May 5 said the proposal for the waiver was first raised by India and South Africa last October.

The proposal calls for a temporary lift on patent rights held by pharmaceutical companies which developed the vaccines.

Supporters of the proposal say the waiver will allow for the faster manufacturing of covid19 vaccines for use by developing countries, where vaccination rates have lagged behind those of wealthier nations.

But pharmaceutical companies claim granting the waiver could hurt future innovation and will not lead to the quick production of coronavirus vaccines.

The Prime Minister, in his capacity as Caricom chairman, has repeatedly spoken about inequity of access to covid19 vaccines by developing countries.

At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's on Saturday, Dr Rowley announced that 10,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine would be coming from Grenada on Sunday and a second shipment of doses of the Sinopharm vaccine will be coming from China to TT soon.

Among the other matters to be discussed at COTED is a revision of the rules of origin and the common external tariff under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which is the agreement that guides trade in the region and the engagement with non-Caricom member states.


"Caricom trade ministers to discuss covid19 vaccines"

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