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The universal access to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine has been the centerpiece of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s intervention speech at the 2020 APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting on Friday, citing its role in the region’s full recovery following the pandemic.

Duterte underscored the need to strengthen partnerships and make the vaccines a global public good, noting that comprehensive recovery means ensuring that “no one is left behind.”

“Several modalities are available. Aside from bilateral and multilateral cooperation, tripartite arrangements can be made between the government, private sector, and multilateral financial institutions,” he said.
“There is no other way. Let us resolve to act decisively on universal vaccine access and maximize these mechanisms”

Duterte noted that information is key to effective response and mitigation efforts.

At the same time, he called for “free, open, and fair” trade among the 20 other APEC leaders.

“This is key to achieving sustained and inclusive economic recovery. APEC will play an important role,” he said.

Meanwhile, he endorsed the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040, which reaffirms a free and rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization as its vanguard.

“We commit to address the widening income inequalities between the countries. And we aim to empower ourselves to face the disruptive impact of a new globalization, driven by digitalization and innovation,” he said.

“We convey our deepest appreciation to the eminent experts who crafted the recommendations for our new Vision,” he added.

For Duterte, the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 gives the region a “renewed confidence in our collective efforts and ability to build back better, healthier, and more prosperous societies.”

The APEC meet held virtually this year due to the pandemic, brings together 21 economies accounting for approximately 60 percent of the global gross domestic product and about 47 percent of the world trade.

Its members are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam. (PNA)

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