The 21-strong Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade group agreed in a virtual meeting to work to ramp up vaccine production to bolster supplies in the region and accelerate their vaccination programs.
The agreement, announced via a statement on the APEC website on Friday, emphasized the importance of the need to accelerate “equitable access to safe, effective, quality assured and affordable Covid-19 vaccines” if the region wants to overcome this “health emergency.”
We recognize the role of comprehensive immunization against Covid-19 as a global public good. To that end, we will redouble our efforts to expand vaccine production and delivery, support global vaccine sharing efforts, and encourage the voluntary transfer of vaccine manufacturing technologies on mutually agreed-upon terms.
With the leaders of the group of 21 countries warning that the pandemic “continues to have a devastating impact on the people and economies of our region”, the group pledged to support economies “as long as necessary” like “designing a sustainable recovery.”
While several APEC countries have imposed border restrictions during the pandemic to limit the spread of the virus, the group agreed to work towards a safe resumption of cross-border travel as long as it does not undermine government efforts to fight 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 worldwide, “a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable trading and investment environment.”
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