THE BUSINESS OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has released a statement calling for governments around the world to "step up their commitments" to the 'Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A)', which was launched in April 2020 by the World Health Organization alongside a coalition of other groups in a bid to ensure all nations have access to the treatments and resources necessary to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter, the ICC, alongside the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Global Citizen, called for world leaders to support the ACT-A, saying that "having seen ACT-A's impressive work over the past four months, we are convinced that massively scaling-up ACT-A would make a significant difference in our collective fight against Covid-19 - but only if governments give it the proper political and financial commitment".
The letter says that the global economy is "expected to contract by US$7 trillion in 2020", and that ACT-A could help countries and businesses get back to work. The letter argues that the world is interconnected, and says that "no country will be able to return to any sense of normality so long as the virus threatens health, economic, and social systems in foreign lands."
The letter also calls on governments to "publicly pledge to avoid enacting trade barriers — such as export restrictions — that would limit foreign access to medical equipment, medicines and vaccines", going on to say that "The clear health, economic and political damage done by countries enacting export barriers on personal protective equipment, food and medicines in the early days of the pandemic would pale in comparison to equivalent approaches being taken in respect of vaccines. The last thing the world needs right now would be a mad scramble between nations for doses of proven vaccines, which could trigger a far-reaching escalation of trade restrictions with potentially devastating consequences."
The letter cites the United Nations General Assembly event on ACA-A, scheduled for September 30, as the chance for world leaders to "commit financial and political support to the ACT-A vision".
To read the full letter, go to iccwbo.org.
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