France backs India, asks G-7 to lift export curbs on vaccine materials

India, and in particular the Serum Institute of India, was blocked in its production by restrictions on the export of ingredients necessary for the production of these vaccines which came from some G-7 economies.”

Backing India’s demand, French President Emmanuel Macron has called on G-7 countries to lift restrictions on export of critical raw materials used in the production of Covid-19 vaccines.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the G-7 meeting which began in Cornwall, UK, on Friday, Macron said: “As we know, there have been export bans from several G-7 member countries, which have blocked production in other countries, and sometimes blocked production in middle-income countries, essential for the production of vaccines for poorest countries. I take just one example, India.

India, and in particular the Serum Institute of India, was blocked in its production by restrictions on the export of ingredients necessary for the production of these vaccines which came from some G-7 economies.”

He said it was “absolutely necessary” to lift these restrictions “so that India can produce more for itself and very quickly to supply, especially to Africans who are very dependent on its production.”

“In the very short term, for me, the priority must continue to be the donation of doses. This is the path we have decided to follow. It is the one that I want us to be able to increase in the context of the discussions over the next few days. And this is the one that seems to me the most effective and fair. To enable and strengthen it, we also need to lift all export restrictions. And the G-7 must make it possible to remove all these obstacles,” he said.

The lifting of restrictions on such exports has been a key demand of India to the US – the US recently said it would ease the curbs.

Macron said France had donated over 800,000 doses via Covax so far, and 1.7 million doses for 14 African countries would be sent by month-end.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the outreach component of the G-7 Summit, along with Australia, South Korea and South Africa. Modi is scheduled to participate through video conferencing on June 12-13.

On May 11, amid the second surge of Covid-19 cases, it was announced that Modi would not attend the G-7 Summit in person. The UK side has conveyed that PM Johnson understands Modi’s decision to stay in India and will make all efforts to ensure his participation is seamless “as if he were actually in the room”. So, the outreach sessions will be in hybrid format, said sources.

Modi is scheduled to speak at three sessions, on the themes of Building Back Stronger, Building Back Together and Building Back Greener.

India has engaged closely with the G-7 on health, climate and environment, digital technology and economic resilience.

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