Britain seeking constructive engagement on COVID-19 vaccine waivers


FILE PHOTO: Vials labelled "AstraZeneca, Pfizer - Biontech, Johnson&Johnson, Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine" are seen in this illustration picture taken May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is seeking constructive engagement with the United States and other World Trade Organization members on the issue of IP waivers for COVID-19 vaccines, a government spokesman said after pressure from charities to back U.S. proposals.

"We are engaging with the US and other WTO members constructively on the TRIPS waiver issue, but we need to act now to expand production and distribution worldwide," the government spokesman said in an email to Reuters.

"Any negotiations in the WTO on a waiver will require unanimous support, which could take a significant amount of time. So while we will constructively engage in the IP discussions, we must continue to push ahead with action now including voluntary licensing agreements for vaccines."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by William James)

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