BKSAP Calls on WTO to Ensure System of COVID-19 Vaccine Availability
House Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP) Chair Fadli Zon joins the 46th SC PCWTO. Photo: Arief/Man
House Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP) Chair Fadli Zon has called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to secure the global trading system by making future COVID-19 vaccines universally available and affordable. Zon said that a trade agreement such as the Trade-Related on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has to be made more flexible when applied to a medical-related trade, and that a transparent procurement system of the vaccines should also be in place.
He made the statement at the 46th Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO (SC PCWTO) through a video conference on Wednesday (30/9/2020). The view was echoed by the chairman of the meeting, Bernd Lange, who also voiced the European Parliament's concerns over vaccines that must be considered global public goods.
"There is an urgent need to ensure availability, accessibility, and affordability in developing at least 180 vaccines at the global level. Eventually, vaccines are part of trade commodity," the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Politician asserted.
On the other hand, the Member of the House Commission I further explored the role of the General Council as one of the two decision-making bodies of multilateral trade agreements in the context of the TRIPS Agreement. The Commission sought for possible leniency in the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement, especially during the time of pandemic like today.
In response to the issue highlighted by BKSAP Chair, Ambassador David Walker guaranteed that some flexibilities would be provided in the TRIPS agreement. "The current flexibilities are also instruments that develop over time," the Chair of the WTO explained. Steering Committee meeting of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO is an annual event regularly convened on the WTO Public Forum event's sidelines. (pun/er)