Vaccines must be affordable for the public good, Azmin tells Apec trade ministers

PETALING JAYA: Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) must guard against "vaccine nationalism" and vaccine stockpiling, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

In the 27th Apec Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting, he also said that Apec countries must ensure that access to Covid-19 vaccines is equitable and affordable for everyone.

Azmin, who led the Malaysian delegation during the virtual meeting hosted by New Zealand on Saturday (June 5) said Malaysia stressed the need for Apec to optimise all policy tools and act collectively to ensure global trade is minimally interrupted.

"Apec economies cannot fight the pandemic alone," he said.

The meeting chaired by Damien O'Connor, New Zealand's Minister for Trade and Export Growth, issued a joint MRT Statement, pledging bold actions in three areas, namely, using trade as a tool to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, supporting the rules-based multilateral trading system and shaping future prosperity by strengthening Apec's endeavours in structural reforms, digital economy, implementing the Lima Declaration on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

Apart from the Joint Statement, ministers also adopted two Statements, namely, on Covid-19 Vaccines Supply Chains, and Services to Support the Movement of Essential Goods.

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