545. Australia thanks South Africa for its communication.
546. Consistent with the 18 May World Health Assembly COVID-19 response resolution, Australia recognizes the need for universal, timely and equitable access to essential health technologies and products, consistent with the TRIPS Agreement.
547. Australia stresses the vital role of IP in incentivising the often costly and timely development of important health products, including vaccines we continue to believe that voluntary pooling and licensing initiatives that respect private rights are effective tools in driving innovation and facilitating widespread access.
548. We also wish to highlight ongoing international initiatives to finance, access and equitably distribute COVID-19 treatments and vaccines in a manner that respects international IP rules and the rights of IP holders and note that close and practical collaboration between Members will be critical to achieve this.
549. In accessing the personal protective equipment and other tools necessary to address COVID19, Australia reminds Members that beyond intellectual property rules, it is other traderelated measures have an important role to play in supporting widespread access for example, APEC and the G20 have already made a number of commitments on the need to maintain trade in essential goods and Australia underscores the need for all Members to continue to guard against protectionism and support open supply chains.
550. In this time of crisis, the TRIPS Agreement should support quick, fair, predictable and implementable access arrangements to vital health products we recognize the need for all Members to understand their rights and obligations under the TRIPS Agreement, including its flexibilities to this end, we support the provision of further information to Members regarding key Articles in the Agreement.
551. It is Australia's view that a harmonious, well-functioning and clearly understood international IP framework, underpinned by the TRIPS Agreement and the rights of IP holders, is crucial in ensuring Members can address the challenges posed by COVID-19.