Thailand joins battle to lift patent protection on Covid vaccines

MONDAY, JUNE 07, 2021

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit on Sunday called for the lifting of intellectual property protection on Covid-19 vaccines, so countries can start producing shots for their people.

He made the remark during a virtual meeting with trade ministers from Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) countries.

At the meeting, Jurin said:

• Thailand will help with the transportation of vaccines and other essential goods required in the battle against Covid-19.

• Thailand will comply with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) pact to facilitate trading.

• Thailand will start its mass vaccine rollout as soon as possible and will be ready to provide support to other countries seeking vaccines.

• Thailand supports compulsory licensing, which enables countries to start producing Covid-19 vaccines without seeking permission from the patent owner. Thailand will also push for Covid-19 vaccines to be removed from intellectual property protection lists as per the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) agreement.

• Thailand backs WTO’s move to accelerate negotiations on vaccine production with the World Health Organisation.

• Thailand backs the WTO in seeking a conclusion on many pending issues, such as support in the fishing industry, temporary exemption of e-commerce tax and promotion of agricultural products.

Apec, meanwhile, said the following:

• A trade mechanism to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak, multilateral free trade and pathway to sustainability is required.

• The setting up of a Covid-19 vaccine supply chain to facilitate the trade of vaccines and essential goods is necessary.

• Support on trade and transportation of essential goods is required.