New Delhi: The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – have proposed to have a common action plan to ensure consumer protection in a context of increasing use of e-commerce while putting emphasis on the need for a quick trade outcome- Waiver of Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Covid-19 vaccines.
At the 11th BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting on Friday, held under the chairmanship of India’s Trade Minister Piyush Goyal, members agreed to work on new areas such as consumer protection, e-commerce , genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cooperation in professional services, according to a statement from the Ministry of Commerce.
Members also agreed on a common approach to the multilateral trading system, especially at the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference, he said. The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the WTO will take place from November 30 to December 3 of this year in Geneva.
India and South Africa are leading the group of countries at the WTO to seek a waiver of certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement to provide universal access to Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries.
At the meeting, which was held in virtual format on Friday, Goyal discussed the development needs of developing and least developed countries (LDCs) and urged the BRICS countries to work together to strengthen the multilateral system such than the WTO, according to the press release.
There has been consensus among BRICS members to work jointly on the protection of GRs, TK and TCEs in order to resolve the issue of their misappropriation through mandatory disclosure of the original source of the material. resource, he said. “It will also help to move forward together in international forums on this issue,” he added.
“In this era of exponential leaps in the use of electronic commerce and online electronic transactions, the convergence to develop a common plan of action among the BRICS countries will help promote the exploration of practical options to ensure the protection of consumers. consumers, “the statement read. India proposed in July last year the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules to prevent unfair trading practices in e-commerce that harm the interests of consumers in the long run.
During the meeting, Goyal stressed the need for a permanent, adequate and equitable solution to public storage programs for food security purposes. The issue is under discussion at the WTO. The issue of public storage programs for food security purposes forces developing countries to purchase and store food and distribute it to the poor. But, the scheme is also seen by some as a trade distortion as it could be an indirect way to support farmers.
Despite many challenges and constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, Goyal has managed to build consensus for new areas of work and cooperation among BRICS countries. A common understanding between the BRICS countries was reached for the first time on a range of topics such as consumer protection, e-commerce, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cooperation in professional services, the statement said.
The theme chosen by India for its BRICS Presidency is “BRICS @ 15: Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus”. BRICS ministers recognized the importance of strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation to achieve the common goal of making their goods and services globally competitive and further integrating into the global value chain, the statement said. .
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