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Source: New Zealand Government

New Zealand and Singapore today launched a new trade initiative to ensure supply chain connectivity and the removal of blockages to trade in a list of essential products that includes medicines, medical and surgical equipment.

Ensuring countries have the most straightforward and cost effective access possible to the essential goods needed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic is crucial,” Trade and Export Minister David Parker said.

David Parker and Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said: “This new initiative builds on the joint statement issued by Singapore and New Zealand last month, which has now been joined by seven other countries.

“The Declaration setting out the initiative includes a list of Covid-19 related products for which New Zealand and Singapore undertake to remove tariffs, not to impose export restrictions and to remove non-tariff barriers.  It also includes an undertaking to keep supply chains operating effectively for these products.”

There is increased global demand, in particular, for medical and hygiene products and some countries are restricting their exports of them.

This is an “open plurilateral” initiative, so other countries can join at any point, and the two ministers said they encourage others to do so as soon as possible.

“New Zealand and Singapore consider it crucial that during this pandemic, trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and food continues to flow freely.  We believe that global cooperation on trade can assist in dealing with this worldwide health crisis.” 

David Parker said nothing in the arrangement would prevent us ensuring we have sufficient medical equipment and supplies in New Zealand.

Editor’s note: The Declaration includes a list of over 120 products, identified as being essential goods in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, for which participants undertake to remove tariffs. This list includes PPE equipment, medical equipment, nutritional products, medicines and hygiene supplies. The Declaration also calls for participants not to apply export restrictions on food and beverage products, and to facilitate trade in food and beverage.

The full list is set out in the annex to the declaration attached.

MIL OSI