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U.S. President Joe Biden stunned European allies and the pharmaceutical industry Wednesday when his administration announced support for international talks on waiving patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines, but there are signs he’s interested in a more modest compromise.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s announcement that the administration would support a waiver was a reversal of long-standing U.S. policy that its companies’ intellectual property is sacrosanct. But in her statement, Tai also said the administration would back a World Trade Organization "process” to try to reach a deal on waiving vaccine patents, rather than a specific proposal from South Africa and India.

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