Leveraging trade to strengthen pandemic defenses requires cooperation beyond trade agreements – Report

A report released by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has said leveraging trade to strengthen pandemic defenses requires cooperation beyond trade agreements. 

The Multilateral Leaders Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Diagnostics—set up by the World Bank and the WTO in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Monetary Fund—has called on the international community to step up its response to the current and future pandemics, the report said.

These efforts call for enhanced cooperation between states, nonstate actors, and international organizations.

Regrading cooperation between states and nonstate actors, the report said the first goal should be to create mechanisms to finance access to essential products such as vaccines in low-income countries and to expand supply and distribution capacity during a crisis and ensure that these facilities do not disappear when demand declines. 

This effort would include cooperation to build manufacturing facilities in low- and middle-income countries with a latent comparative advantage whose relatively small populations reduce the risk that the host-country governments will intervene to meet domestic needs and the impact of a potential intervention.

“A second goal is to create mechanisms for sharing information on the operation of supply chains. A priority should be to establish a global clearinghouse to support production of critical medical products and serve as a platform for companies to report bottlenecks, improve visibility on production capacity and distribution, and identify measures to respond to the pandemic,” it said.

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On cooperation among international organizations, it said efforts to strengthen collaboration should center on addressing the information and coordination gaps revealed by the pandemic, such as by Strengthening international standardization; Bolstering the capacity of national regulatory agencies; Developing good-practice policy frameworks for public procurement during crises; and Working with the private sector to encourage technology transfer and expand global emergency response capacity.

“Multilateral organizations should continue cooperative efforts to provide transparency and achieve truly global health security. Building on the Multilateral Leaders Task Force, a jointly managed platform could ensure that information systems at the firm and supply chain levels are in place so data are available to all governments in an emergency.”

Source: 3news