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EU sharpens COVID vaccine export rules as third wave of infections rises

Europe Materials 24 March 2021 18:00 (UTC +04:00)
The European Union refined its rules on the export of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, giving it a clearer right to block shipments to countries such as Britain with higher inoculation rates and to those not exporting their own vaccine doses
EU sharpens COVID vaccine export rules as third wave of infections rises

The European Union refined its rules on the export of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, giving it a clearer right to block shipments to countries such as Britain with higher inoculation rates and to those not exporting their own vaccine doses, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.

The move risks stoking post-Brexit tensions with London, which has warned Brussels against “vaccine nationalism”.

EU trade chief Dombrovskis told a news conference the export authorisation mechanism was not targeting any specific country.

The European Commission, which oversees trade policy for the 27 EU members, set out a proposal expanding existing measures that seek to ensure planned exports by drugmakers do not threaten already reduced EU supply.

The granting of export licences will be based on reciprocity and “proportionality” - the epidemiological situation, vaccination rate and access to vaccines in the destination country.

EU officials say export restrictions could also kick in if companies do respect quarterly contracts but backload supplies at the end of the period.

Dombrovskis said the new rules did not create a detailed algorithm on authorisations and requests would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The scheme will also widen the net to include 17 neighbouring countries, including Israel, Norway and Switzerland. Previously exempted, exports to these countries will also need authorisation.

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