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Covid 19 - Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Waiver

Date: April 9, 2021

Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property, universally known as TRIPS, is a multilateral agreement under the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was the first such agreement to treat so-called intellectual property (IP) rights, most notably copyright and patents, as a global trade issue, on the theory that one country's failure to protect another's IP creates a barrier to trade between those countries.

The agreement on TRIPS became effective in 1995 and mandates that all 164 World Trade Organization members provide a certain level of Intellectual Property protection for copyrights and patents. This would apply to COVID-19 vaccines developed such as Astra Zenica, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and any others being developed.

India and South America have proposed a temporary waiver to the TRIPS treaty. The waiver would allow production of a generic COVID-19 vaccine at plants around the world.

At the current rate of production, developing countries are not expected to get access to the vaccine until 2024. This allows the virus to continue to mutate and create new variants. The risk may be a new vaccine-resistant variant that may shut down the global economy and delay the recovery of the aviation industry.

What TRIPS means to Flight Attendants

Flight Attendants know our jobs depend on a strong global network.  For a full recovery of the aviation industry, we must work to ensure that people around the world have access to the vaccine.

That is why AFA-CWA is urging President Biden to support an emergency and temporary WTO “Waiver from Certain Provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the Prevention, Containment and Treatment of COVID-19”. AFA-CWA has joined over 400 organizations calling on the Administration to support waiving the WTO IP rules so that greater supplies of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests can be produced in many places and as quickly as possible. Public pressure on the Biden Administration has grown and the White House is now considering the TRIPS waiver.  Stay tuned for how you can take action to support this initiative next week.

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