Brian Mwale-The 12th World Trade Organization -WTO- Ministerial Conference in Geneva has secured waivers on Intellectual Property Rights for developing countries to start manufacturing vaccines for Covid-19 and other future health problems.
WTO Director General OKONJO -IWEALA says the organisation has managed to get a waiver on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights -TRIPS- after protracted negotiations.
Dr. OKONJO – IWEALA says China and the United States of America agreed at the last minute for developing countries to set up manufacturing plants.
She says the deal is unprecedented as it will be key in fighting future health challenges with details being worked on for developing countries wishing to start manufacturing vaccines.
Addressing the media this morning after a night of talks, Dr. OKONJO – IWEALA expressed delight that the WTO has managed to secure six substantial outcomes despite having low expectations on two outcomes.
She revealed that the conference agreed to extend by another two years an e-commerce moratorium that waives duty on electronic transactions put in place in 1998.
Dr. OKONJO – IWEALA who has only been at the helm of the WTO for 15 months further revealed that the conference also endevoured not to put export restrictions on health equipment and medical supplies in response to a pandemic, trade and health.
And, 12th Ministerial Conference Chairperson TIMUR SULEIMENOV said the deliverables at the WTO have shown that multilateralism is still alive.
Zambia was represented at the WTO biannual conference by Ministry of Commerce Permanent Secretary CHAWE CHUULU who had earlier appealed for an extension of the moratorium on electronic transactions being duty free in view of the rise of digital trade at the
height of the Covid pandemic.
Mrs. CHUULU told ZNBC News in Geneva that Zambia has seen a lot of youths and women benefiting from ecommerce jobs and businesses.