China to give Latin America $1 billion in vaccine credits

Beijing has announced this decision at the end of a virtual meeting between the members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Eurasian nation
Laboratory of the Chinese vaccine manufacturer CanSino Biologics

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Laboratory of the Chinese vaccine manufacturer CanSino Biologics

China will provide Latin American countries with credits of a total value of 1 billion dollars for access to vaccines and medicines to help them face COVID-19, the Foreign Ministry of Ecuador informed this Thursday.

Beijing announced this decision at the end of a virtual meeting between the members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and China, in which multilateral cooperation in times of pandemic was analyzed.

"China expressed its desire to contribute directly to the countries of the Latin American region, for which it reported that it will provide one billion dollars in credits to access vaccines and medicines," reads a statement from the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry.

In addition, the Chinese government offers other contributions to international organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), which focus on projects for the region, the official note adds.

At the meeting, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos called for joint efforts to make knowledge about combating COVID-19 equitable and available to all.

The foreign minister highlighted the importance of strengthening intra- and extra-regional initiatives in the context of the biggest global crisis in the last 75 years, according to the statement.

In that context, he called on his interlocutors to "join efforts to ensure equitable access to and fair distribution of all technologies, inputs and essential products to combat the virus," and reiterated his position that vaccines against COVID-19 "be classified as a global health public good".

The telematic meeting, organized by the Government of Mexico, which currently holds the presidency of CELAC, and China, was aimed at promoting relations and cooperation mechanisms between the member countries of the regional organization and the Asian giant.​​​​​​​

Gallegos took advantage of the meeting to thank the Chinese humanitarian and health assistance to his country through the donation of medical equipment, technical cooperation and economic contributions.

Last month, China donated 15 tons of medical equipment to Ecuador to deal with the pandemic.

The Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs defended multilateralism and warned of the risks that the progress made in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, in the economic, social, financial and commercial areas worldwide, is currently suffering. "Now more than ever, he said, the participation of our countries in international forums is required".

Between June and October of this year, Ecuador expects to receive $2.4 billion in loans from two Chinese institutions: the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and the China Development Bank (CDB), reported its Minister of Economy and Finance, Richard Martinez, last May.