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Impact of export controls on Covid-19 vaccine supplies and the economic case for vaccine equity


Dear Commission President,

As the institutional representative and global voice of over 45 million businesses, I am writing to express the global business community’s concern at proposals – which we understand have been tabled by the Commission this week – to impose controls on the export of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in the European Union.

While we, of course, appreciate that the draft regulation is ultimately well intentioned, I hope that you may be willing – together with your college of Commissioners – to reflect on the negative consequences of trade restrictions on the supply of vaccines for EU citizens when viewed in a broader context.    

In this connection, I would like to emphasise two important frames of reference. First, from discussions with businesses with experience operating within vaccine supply chains, we understand that the introduction of export restrictions risks creating artificial chokepoints in the manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines – arguably undermining the core intent of the proposals to speed vaccine rollout across the EU.  

As you will be aware, vaccine supply chains are inherently global in nature – indeed, some inputs required for approved COVID-19 vaccinations can only be sourced in a handful of countries. In this context, our immediate fear is that the proposed EU export controls risk triggering retaliatory actions by third countries that could very rapidly erode essential supply chains. 

Study shows vaccine nationalism could cost rich countries US$4.5 trillion

• Comprehensive economic modelling shows advanced economies stand to lose USD trillions through vaccine nationalism – more than previously thought

• Economic benefits of funding multilateral efforts to ensure equitable access to vaccines dwarf the costs

• Advanced economies with international linkages have the most to gain from global collaboration on vaccine access and distribution


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General WHO:


“I believe the world faces a catastrophic moral failure in equal access to the tools to combat the pandemic. This research shows a potentially catastrophic economic failure. The progress made by the ACT Accelerator shows solidarity in beating this virus.

The longer we wait to provide vaccines, tests, and treatments to all countries, the faster the virus will take hold, the potential for more variants will emerge, the greater the chance today’s vaccines could become ineffective, and the harder it will be for all countries to recover.

Truly, no-one is safe until everyone is safe.” 



Read the full ICC press release in English, French and German.  The full study is availbale here

New Arbitration Rules Webinar

16 December 2020, 16:00 p.m.

In collaboration with ICC France and ICC Belgium, ICC Switzerland offers a Webinar in French about the new Arbitration Rules stepping into place on 1 January 2021.

Find more information here.


The Webinar is free of charge, safe the date now and register here!

29. November 2020

By Thomas Pletscher, Secretary General, ICC Switzerland


Personal appreciation of timing and effect


Today and after a harsh and emotional campaign on both sides, Switzerland voted on a popular initiative to amend the Constitution in order to strengthen responsible business conduct (RBI) in the field of human rights and environmental standards. The proposal was rejected in a tight vote (50.7% yes by people) and with a clear majority of the Cantons being against. Any amendment of the Constitution has to be approved by the people as well as the Cantons.

The RBI would had requested strict due dilligence along the whole supply chain and a direct liability in Switzerland for mother companies for damages caused by themselves as well as subsidiaries and economically dependent suppliers abroad. Concrete conditions an details would have been defined in an implentation law to be elaborated after a positive vote. This would have taken some more years due to the legislative process.

The Parliament has already approved a counter proposal (CP). This CP obliges Companies to strict due diligence in relation to human rights, environmental standards and anti-coruption. Special respect has to be given to raw material and child labor. The CP can be compared with the laws in France, Netherlands or United Kingdom as well with proposed rules in the EU. Liability rules are not changed. Some claims are already possible under existing law (but have never been tested), notably when «headquarters are directly involved in violations». Court pactice will show whether due dilligence and reporting obligations will change the perception of «being directly involved».

ICC has been ask to partner with Principia Advisory and Clifford Chance, who will profile how businesses are approaching anti-corruption and responsible business practices in the COVID-19 rebuild and recovery.


Please support us in this endavour by participating in the study here.


Participation will be anonymous and won't take longer than 10 minures. Thank you for your support!


Responsibility in partnership instead of confrontation

By Thomas Wellauer, Chairman of ICC Switzerland and Chairman of Board of Directions SIX Group


This was published as an article in the Bündner Tagblatt on Friday 13 November 2020. See article here.


The vote on the Corporate Responsibility Initiative (UVI) has a special significance for ICC Switzerland. For over one hundred years, the "International Chamber of Commerce" ICC has been working for "peace and prosperity through trade and investment". Today it is represented in almost 100 countries and is the only private organization to be an observer member of the UN. ICC Switzerland forms the bridge from Switzerland to this global network.

Responsible entrepreneurship is important to ICC Switzerland. ICC thus supports the high standards of due diligence associated with it. For example, the ICC guidelines for international investments call on investing companies to respect the human rights of those affected by their activities worldwide in accordance with UN principles.

ICC Switzerland therefore supports the indirect counter-proposal (CDR) to the UVI of the Federal Council and Parliament. This proposal tightens the duty of care for companies. It goes beyond the EU rules and combines the rules of the UK and the Netherlands, for example. It is based on well-known instruments. With the new mandatory reporting, the measures become verifiable for third parties. The CDR thus positions Switzerland in an internationally coordinated manner. It comes into force if the initiative is rejected.

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