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WTO warns about obstacles to vaccine production and trade

WTO warns about obstacles to vaccine production and trade

Geneva, Jun 29 (Prensa Latina) The World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala warned about continuing obstacles to undermine global efforts to increase and diversify Covid-19 vaccine production.

Speaking about WTO´s latest Trade Monitoring Report, Okonjo-Iweala claimed that ‘As the world struggles to overcome the enormous human, economic and social impact of the pandemic, we must not be complacent. Trade recovery will not be sustainable unless vaccine equity is assured.’

Trade policy restraint by G20 economies, as well as WTO members more broadly, prevented a destructive acceleration of protectionist trade measures that would have further hurt the world economy, according to the WTO’s latest Trade Monitoring Report.

However, Okonjo-Iweala noted that while the report´s finding indicate trade-restrictive measures are coming down, G20 economies have more work to do to guarantee the free flow of medical inputs and supplies critical to saving lives.

Trade restrictions hamper our efforts to ramp up production, particularly in the developing world, and ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines. Vaccine policy is trade policy and we must do everything we can to prevent a resurgence of the pandemic, which would significantly jeopardize the global economic recovery, Okonjo-Iweala stressed.

The report indicates that trade has been a force for good during the pandemic by enabling access to medical supplies. Despite the value of global merchandise trade shrinking by more than 8% in 2020, trade in medical supplies increased by 16%, and personal protective equipment (PPE) by 50%.

The report also notes that the multilateral trading system has kept trade flowing, with the WTO playing a central role in ensuring that supply chains are kept open and restrictive trade policies are avoided.

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