Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has delivered a letter to Ambassador María Pagán, the Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) to the World Trade Organization (WTO.) The letter urges Ambassador Pagán not to waive the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for COVID-19 vaccines. In her capacity as the USTR Ambassador to the WTO, she negotiates the terms of trade arrangements between the United States and WTO member nations.
Sen. Lee was joined in signing the letter by Senators Tom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
In part, the letter reads: “We are deeply concerned that waiving the protections for COVID-19 vaccines will discourage continued research, development, and distribution of medical innovations which may prove necessary to save American lives in the future. Intellectual property rights provide the grounds for businesses to take risks in turning novel ideas into concrete goods and services; that means fewer goods–not more–will be produced to combat pandemics if WTO-member countries stop enforcing IP protections. We urge you to consider the ramifications of waiving the TRIPS Agreement and ask you to defend the IP protections that have resulted in the majority of COVID-19 remedies that Americans—and millions of others around the globe—have utilized.”