ASEAN members have agreed to enable a supply chain connectivity for the provision of essential medical supplies including medicines

India has welcomed the initiatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members to contain the contagion including establishment of COVID-19 response fund.

Commerce and Industries minister Piyush Goyal has said that India is looking forward to collaborating with ASEAN in production of medicines to deal with COVID-19.

“India welcomes the initiatives of ASEAN to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and the establishment of the ASEAN COVID-19 response Fund,” Union Minister Piyush Goyal was quoted by the Hindu Business Line as saying at the 17th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers Consultations held recently.

He said that the two sides could work together to jointly produce generics and technology to fight COVID-19.

The ASEAN members agreed to enable a supply chain connectivity for the provision of essential medical supplies including medicines, vaccines, food, commodities and other essential goods and services in the region, the report said.

The participating states also agreed to promote trade and investment by minimising disruptions to trade and global supply chains, the report said. They said that the measures which will be agreed upon to tackle COVID-19 should be transparent, temporary, consistent and aligned with rules laid by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

They said the member parties must take necessary measures to do away with unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption of global and regional supply chains, the report said.

According to the report, India highlighted its contribution to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Commerce minister Piyush Goyal said that even when India was unable to get its supplies from the world, it provided medical assistance including drugs and safety kits to around 150 countries and granted aid to 80 countries.

“India was privileged to be able to serve the world by producing 70% of the global vaccines and being trusted as the pharmacy of the world,” Goyal said.

The ASEAN members also underlined the importance of establishing ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Public Health Emergencies Response.

Read the full report in The Hindu Business Line