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16 Jul, 2021 16:26

Asia-Pacific leaders pledge to expand Covid vaccine manufacturing to bolster regional supplies

Asia-Pacific leaders pledge to expand Covid vaccine manufacturing to bolster regional supplies

The 21-strong Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade group has agreed at virtual meeting to work to swiftly increase vaccine manufacturing to bolster supplies in the region, speeding up their inoculation programs.

The agreement, announced via a statement on the APEC website on Friday, highlighted the importance of the need to accelerate “equitable access to safe, effective, quality-assured and affordable Covid-19 vaccines” if the region is to overcome this “health emergency.”

We recognise the role of extensive immunization against Covid-19 as a global public good. To that end, we will redouble our efforts to expand vaccine manufacture and supply, support global vaccine sharing efforts, and encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine production technologies on mutually agreed terms.

With the leaders of the 21-nation group warning that the pandemic “continues to have a devastating impact on our region’s people and economies,” the group pledged to support economies “for as long as necessary,” as well as “designing a sustainable recovery.”

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While several APEC countries have imposed border restrictions throughout the pandemic in order to limit the spread of the virus, the group agreed to work towards the safe resumption of cross-border travel, so long as it does not undermine government efforts to combat the virus. 

The group also called on the World Trade Organization to remain involved in efforts to use global trade rules to support both health and economic recovery globally, protecting “a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trade and investment environment.”

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