EU, Japan agree to defend multilateralism against COVID-19

The leaders of the European Union and Japan said on Tuesday that global solidarity, cooperation, and effective multilateralism are required to defeat the coronavirus.

President Charles Michel of the European Council; President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a video conference on Tuesday.

"Global solidarity, cooperation and multilateralism are needed more than ever to defeat the coronavirus and ensure economic recovery," von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. 

The leaders agreed that any measure adopted to contain the pandemic must be "targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary and consistent with World Trade Organization rules so that they do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains."

The EU and Japan also agreed that the future COVID-19 vaccine must become "a global common good."

They underlined the importance of keeping the trading system open, saying both sides will cooperate to facilitate the flow of medical supplies, agricultural products, raw materials and other goods and services across borders. They also called for refraining from unnecessary travel and export restrictions.

(With input from agencies)