The European Union on Friday submitted a plan to the World Trade Organization that it believes will more effectively broaden supply of COVID-19 vaccines than the intellectual property (IP) rights waiver backed by the United States.
India, South Africa and dozens of developing countries are demanding the waiver to address what they say is a "staggering inequity" in access to vaccines and other COVID-19 treatments.
A surprise U.S. shift in May to support a waiver heaped pressure on remaining opponents, such as the European Union and Switzerland that are home to many drugmakers. read more
The European Commission, which oversees trade policy for the 27-nation EU, said on Friday it had submitted an alternative, focused on limits on export restrictions and making use of flexibility in existing WTO rules.
The World Trade Organization will next be able to discuss the plan at meetings planned next Tuesday and Wednesday.
The EU contends that a waiver would not boost productionand presented a three-part plan.
First, it says export restrictions should be kept to a minimum.
Second, the EU would encourage vaccine developers to enter deals with producers in developing countries and pledge increased supplies to vulnerable nations, as some have done.