|Medical staff at a COVID-19 test site in Auckland, New Zealand, on Feberuary 15, 2021. (Photo: THX /VNA)
Amid concerns that smaller nations may be left behind in vaccinating their populations, New Zealand - one of the most successful countries in curbing the pandemic - will make the proposals at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which it will host virtually this year.
Vangelis Vitalis, New Zealand's deputy secretary for trade and economy, said that global participation is needed to deal with the global pandemic.
New Zealand proposes making shipments of medicines, medical and surgical equipment, hygiene products, and other goods tariff-free between the 21 APEC members, whilst also easing other restrictions on supplies crossing borders.
The proposal would have to be agreed on in the next couple of weeks, in order to get approved at the APEC trade ministers' meeting in May.