MONTERREY, Mexico — Ministers from a trans-Pacific trade bloc have agreed to fight protectionism and avoid food and medicine shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, they said in a joint statement published on Wednesday.
“We are committed to ensuring that supply chains remain open and connected...which plays an instrumental role in avoiding food shortages and ensuring global food security,” the statement said.
The 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The bloc represents 495 million consumers and a combined GDP of $13.5 trillion, according to the Canadian government.
The members also pledged to “facilitate the flow of essential goods and services during the pandemic, including medical supplies and equipment.”
They affirmed a commitment to free trade and to limit restrictive measures despite the pandemic.
“We strongly believe that given the current circumstances, it is more important than ever to counter protectionism,” the statement said.