US-ABC Statement on U.S. Support for COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver

The US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) shares the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of getting as many safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of people around the world as fast as possible. U.S. leadership is needed to leverage rapidly increasing domestic vaccine production, export more of our vaccine surplus to nations in need, and help developing markets overcome the massive technical and logistical barriers to manufacture the vaccine safely, securely, and successfully.

In light of USG’s support for a proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines, US-ABC underscores the importance of intellectual property rights to the global trading system. IP protections are one of the most fundamental elements global firms consider when evaluating markets for future foreign direct investments in their supply chains and sourcing locations. Improved levels of IP protection in ASEAN have helped strengthen the region’s global competitiveness in attracting investment and enabled ASEAN-based firms to occupy higher positions within global value chains. US-ABC hopes the text-based negotiations at the WTO produce a narrow and limited waiver to uphold existing and future IP protections independent of these extraordinary circumstances. Manufacturers producing vaccine under the waiver must have the proper materials, equipment, training, and infrastructure to do so in a safe and secure manner.

The US-ABC’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce is also working with ASEAN governments to facilitate partnerships with industry that bolster vaccine confidence and help increase the supply of safe and effective vaccines in Southeast Asia. The Council believes that a key element in successfully combatting the public health and economic dislocation impacts of COVID-19 must also include planning, preparing, and making innovative investments to combat future pandemics. In this regard, IPR protection frameworks will enable the creation of new innovative tools, products, and services necessary for citizens to protect their health and economic livelihoods in the future.

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For over 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.