Canada should join global effort at the WTO for an urgent, equitable COVID-19 response

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In October, India and South Africa, co-sponsored by Kenya and Eswatini, brought a motion forward at the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive certain parts of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Right Agreement around COVID-19 medical technologies

This would effectively stop certain trade rules, like patents on pharmaceutical products, and help with the research, development and manufacturing of more and lower-cost COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. The waiver would help a lot of people across the world, particularly countries and communities that are usually exploited by the global trade system. 

The Canadian government said they do not support this proposed waiver. Other wealthy countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, also do not support the waiver.  

Without the waiver, low- and middle-income countries don't have the ability to manufacture vaccines. It hurts their capacity to produce diagnostics, tests, ventilators, and other drugs. Without the waiver, many countries will have to rely on pharmaceutical companies and wealthy countries for “charity.” Trade rules and profit must not come at the expense of lives or equity.

By rejecting this waiver, Canada is stopping the chance to change the structures and rules that would ensure information and resources are accessible. 

Civil society organizations across the world and country want this waiver to go through. Trade Justice Network, the Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and hundreds more have called on the government to support this waiver. It would be a sign of global solidarity. It would be a foundation to ensure treatments are distributed as quickly as possible, saving lives, livelihoods and bringing the crisis to an end.

The Canadian government can still change its mind. The final vote is coming at some point in December. Sign this petition to call on the federal government to support an equitable and just global effort to fight COVID-19. 

 


Read more here: 

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/local-perspectives/gavin-fridell-rylan-higgins-trudeaus-vaccine-hypocrisy-harmful-to-poorer-countries-525053/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-canadas-opposition-to-a-wto-proposal-hurts-developing-countries/

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/11/20/rejecting-wto-drug-patent-waivers-amid-pandemic-richest-nations-put-big-pharma

Doctors Without Borders:
https://msfaccess.org/india-and-south-africa-proposal-wto-waiver-ip-protections-covid-19-related-medical-technologies
 
Amnesty International:
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/10/wto-states-waiver-trade-rules-for-covid19-vaccine/