Insurance and investment firm C.V. Starr & Co. has joined a group of international businesses and policy leaders urging US President Joseph R. Biden to “demonstrate decisive US leadership” in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter dated May 11, the group raised concerns over the “increasingly deadly outbreaks” in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and called for the US “to do more” in helping get vaccines “into the arms of people” in disadvantaged countries.
“The US must act now to leverage rapidly increasing US domestic vaccine production, export ever-larger volumes of our surplus supplies, and go to work on the massive technical and logistical challenges to vaccine development on a global scale,” the letter said.
The group also expressed opposition to the intellectual property waiver being promoted by the World Trade Organization, saying the move “would make little difference and could do harm” by not considering the steps necessary for safely manufacturing the vaccines.
The letter, initiated by C.V. Starr & Co. chairman and chief executive officer Maurice R. Greenberg, noted that the world has come to rely on American leadership at a time of great strife.
“The ability of our government, working in tandem with the private sector, to deliver innovative solutions that save lives and restore peace and stability is the very foundation of US soft power,” the letter said. “Today, we have a generational opportunity to mobilise vaccine efforts around the world. Our friends and allies will not forget easily if we sit on surplus stockpiles of the most proven vaccines as their citizens suffer and die.”
Among the letter’s signatories are:
Ken Langone, chairman of the board of trustees of NYU Langone Health, William Cohen, former secretary of the US Department of Defense, Noel V. Lateef, president and CEO of Foreign Policy Association, Carla A. Hills, former US trade representative, John D. Negroponte, first director of National Intelligence, John F. Maisto, former ambassador to Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Also, Alexander Feldman, CEO of US ASEAN Business Council, Suzanne Clarke, president and CEO of US Chamber of Commerce, Michelle McMurray-Heath, president and CEO of Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (BIO), Adam S. Posen, president of Peterson Institute for International Economics, Hank Hendrickson, executive director of US Philippines Society.
And John J. Hamre, president and CEO of Center for Strategic & International Studies, Dimitri Simes, president and CEO of Center for the National Interest, former USAID ambassador Mark Green, and Robert Goldberg, co-founder and vice-president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.