The trade ministers also said APEC economies will work proactively to support discussions for a temporary waiver of certain intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines, according to The Japan Times. The mention of the waiver was included in the statement as New Zealand has announced its support of a proposal by India and South Africa for the World Trade Organization to temporarily suspend intellectual property protections on the vaccines. The ministers from 21 economies that form the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation met virtually amid the pandemic, with New Zealand, the current APEC host, serving as chair. ; Recognizing the role of extensive COVID-19 immunization as a global public good, we urgently need to accelerate the production and distribution of safe, effective, quality-assured, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, they said in a joint statement, stressing trade and investment's role in ensuring widespread and equitable access to vaccines. In addition to the joint statement, the ministers issued a separate one on COVID-19 vaccine supply chains that said APEC economies will expedite the flow and transit of all vaccines and related goods through air, sea and land ports. At a pre-meeting news conference, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor, who serves as meeting chair, said the successful distribution of vaccines across the Asia-Pacific region will be critical to the region's recovery. We will consider voluntary actions to reduce the cost of these products for our people, particularly by encouraging each economy to review its own charges levied at the border on COVID-19 vaccines and related goods, the ministers said in the statement. (news.financializer.com).
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