The ministers produced an agreement on the importance of the G20 gives a strong confidence signal in the global economy by keeping the flow of goods and services flowing, especially the supply of medicines vital - Photo by G20 Secretariat Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The minister of trade of the Group of 20 (G20) produced an agreement on the importance of the members give a strong confidence signal in the global economy by keeping the flow of goods and services flowing, especially the supply of medicines vital amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The deal reached at the special meeting on Monday night (03/29) lead by Saudi Arabia.

This agreement is a follow-up to the mandate assigned by G20 leaders at the Extraordinary High Level Conference last week. The global leaders had given a mandate to the ministers of trade to ensure the supply of medical equipment and basic agricultural products to maintain the global supply chains and avoid trade disruption.

The ministers also agreed to immediately assessing the impact of the COVID-19 in the field of trade, creating a trading climate and investment that is free, fair, non-discriminatory, predictable and stable; and to continue to open market.

According to minister of trade, Agus Suparmanto, the government of Indonesia itself continues to make efforts to overcome the impact of the pandemic through fiscal and non-fiscal policy stimulus packages. In the trade sector, simplify and speed up import export activities, remove barriers unnecessary trade, and improve national logistics efficiency.

“Our ministry is committed to launching the next stimulus package to overcome the impact of the pandemic,” he adds.

In the discussion, Suparmanto conveyed the importance of global cooperation for deal with the economic impact of COVID-19 outbreak, given the existence of interconnectedness and at the same time the current global economic vulnerabilities. G20 leadership in restoring confidence in the global economy and continuing trade international becomes very necessary at this time, he noted.

“It must be admitted that the coronavirus outbreak is a global challenge that is increasingly difficult to handle individually, we have no choice but to collaborate globally,” said the minister.

While, the director general of World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus remarked to the G20 ministers, currently more than 630,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, and more than 30,000 deaths.

“As you know, the pandemic has had severe impacts on many parts of life, including the global economy and trade. But trade is also key to bringing the pandemic under control” he told the ministers.

The ensuring free movement of essential health products is vital for saving lives and curbing the social and economic impacts of the pandemic, he noted. Trade bans are proliferating.

This, he continued, is slowing the response and restricting countries from getting desperately needed supplies for diagnostic tests, protective gear for health workers, and critical equipment such as ventilators.

“Newly erected trade barriers not only create potentially catastrophic slowdowns for the COVID-19 pandemic, but for other diseases and disorders,” said Ghebreyesus.

He continued, there are several measures that G20 can take to scale up the production, movement and distribution of critical medical products. First, the countries to work with companies to increase production of essential medical supplies, for both their domestic markets and export.

“We call on companies and wholesalers not to use the current crisis to hike prices, share knowledge to broaden the production base, consider using compulsory licenses where patent holders cannot meet demand at affordable prices,” said the director general.

Second, ensure the free movement of essential health products. All countries to keep borders open and refrain from implementing any policies that could disrupt supply chains, including export bans and stockpiling.

Then, maintain land, air and sea cargo capacity and prioritize transport of needed medical equipment and personnel. Creates priority “green lanes” for essential goods between countries and to streamline customs and market authorization procedures.

Third, equitable access caused is critical. This applies to information, innovation, essential medical equipment and supplies, as well as medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics, he stated.

“Clinical trials are now underway for both medicines to treat COVID-19, and vaccines to prevent it. Once effective tools are developed, it’s vital that we collectively coordinate the availability, affordability and distribution to ensure those who are most in need get access as soon as possible,” Ghebreyesus asserted.

Fourth, the countries must pay particular attention to Africa and other low-income countries. Restrictive measures risk adversely impacting access to essential medical supplies for countries in Africa.

“This pandemic reminds us that we have a shared destiny. None of us, none of our health systems, none of our economies, operate in a vacuum. We are interdependent. We cannot win without solidarity. As long as COVID-19 persists in one country, it is a threat to all of us,” he concluded.

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