US defends restrictions on export of COVID-19 vaccine raw materials amid India’s request to lift ban


Washington: A senior US State Department Official has defended the United State’s restriction on the export of key raw materials for the COVID-19 vaccine by stating that the Biden administration’s first obligation is to take care of the requirements of the American people.

The statement came as the US denied India’s request on lifting the ban on the export of raw materials for manufacturing the vaccine. The ban can threaten to slow India’s vaccination drive.

When asked when US Government will decide on India’s request to lift the ban, the Spokesperson of the State Department stated that the US is first and foremost engaged in an ambitious and effective and so far, a successful effort to vaccinate the American people.

He added that it is not only in the US interest to see Americans vaccinated, but it is in the interest of everyone to see Americans vaccinated.

However, the Biden administration had recently conveyed to New Delhi that it understands India’s pharmaceutical needs and has also promised to give the matter due consideration.

US invokes Defence Production Act: 

It has been observed that the difficulty in the export of critical raw materials to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine is mainly because of an Act that forces the US Companies to prioritize domestic consumption.

The suppliers of the raw materials, which are in high demand globally and are also sought after by the major Indian manufacturers, are now being forced to provide it only for the domestic manufacturers in the US.

The United States has also ramped up the production of Coronavirus vaccines mostly by Moderna and Pfizer in order to meet the goal of vaccinating the entire population of the US by July 4, 2021.

India-US discussions on the ongoing COVID-19 situation:

In recent weeks, the Ambassador of India to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has been taking up the matter of ban on the export of raw materials for COVID-19 vaccine with the Biden Administration officials. However, as per US officials, the matter will take little time.

The two diplomat officials, EAM S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Blinken also had a telephonic conversation earlier during which they had discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and ways to deal with it.

US claims its leadership role in combating virus beyond borders

Mr. Price, the State Department Spokesperson while defending its decision of not lifting the ban on the export of raw materials highlighted that the US has played a leadership role in containing the virus beyond borders.

He informed that the Biden administration re-engaged with WHO with day one by contributing $ 2 billion to COVAX with more than $2 billion on the way. Mr. Price added that when it comes to India, the arrangement with the Quad, which includes increasing the production capacity in India, and when it comes to the US’s own hemisphere, loan agreement with Mexico and Canada.