South Africa: SA's Foreign Policy and Trade Strategy On Our Key Partnership With Asia and Middle East

opinion

Asia and the Middle East are important trading partners for South Africa. Our two-way trade stood at R984-billion in 2020. But in addition to the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, our brothers and sisters in a number of countries in the region had to endure the pain and suffering of armed conflict and oppression.

One of the major determinants of the strength of the short-term economic recovery after Covid-19 will be the effectiveness of pandemic containment measures. South Africa intends to strengthen cooperation with the Asia and Middle East region in containing further Covid-19 outbreaks. As part of this strategy, we are aggressively pursuing opportunities towards the production of vaccines in Africa.

South Africa, alongside India, has submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organization for a temporary waiver of certain rules in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) agreement to facilitate wider access to technologies needed to produce vaccines and medicines, especially to the poorer countries. We are pleased with the support of the international community that we have received. A temporary waiver will allow the use of intellectual property, to share technology transfer, to produce vaccines and therapeutics, lower prices and expedite distribution to everyone, everywhere....

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