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Taiwan will discuss the easing of the vaccine trade in talks with the US.

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TAIPEI – Taiwan will discuss the possibility of facilitating the import and export of COVID-19 vaccines with the United States when it holds trade talks with Washington this week, which will help control the pandemic, President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday.

The two sides are due to resume long-stalled trade discussions on Wednesday as Washington seeks to deepen its support for the island claimed by China, and at a time when Taiwan is grappling with a cluster of domestic COVID-19 cases.

In a speech from her office, Tsai said the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, or TIFA, talks would include what she called an “important” topic.

“That is to simplify the process of importing and exporting vaccines and other medical supplies. This substantive cooperation will bring important help to our current epidemic situation. I asked our negotiating team to do everything possible, ”Tsai said.

“If the epidemic in Taiwan is controlled and economic fluctuations are reduced, it will be an additional contribution to the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”

Taiwan is a major semiconductor producer, the global shortage of which has impacted the world, although the national outbreak of COVID-19 on the island has not had a substantial impact on supplies.

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Another 410,000 doses of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Taiwan on Wednesday, Vice Interior Minister Chen Tsung-yen said Tuesday as part of his direct order for 5.05 million doses from the company.

Only about 8% of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one of the two COVID-19 injection regimens, and the government has been under pressure to accelerate deliveries of the millions of doses it has ordered. .

When asked if a government-run research center is in talks with Moderna to make COVID-19 vaccines, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the government “will not leave any opportunity” and is currently reviewing its capacity to manufacture vaccines for international companies.

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“We are reviewing the related capacity, will and division of labor at the national level. That will smooth things out in a negotiation, “Chen told a daily news conference, without giving details.

Taiwan has received a total of 4.85 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to date, including 1.24 million donated by Japan and 2.5 million donated by the United States. Japan has promised another million, while Lithuania gives Taiwan 20,000.

The national outbreak of the virus in Taiwan is being controlled, but it remains cautious about a handful of cases of the highly contagious Delta variant in southern Taiwan.

The island reported 54 new domestic infections on Tuesday, up from 60 the day before, marking the smallest daily increase since May 15, when the government raised the alert level for Taipei and its neighboring city in the wake of a sudden increase in domestic cases. (Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Edited by Jacqueline Wong)

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