EU lawsuit on AstraZeneca; Chile Bolivia ties; South Africa economic activity

In today’s episode, we discuss the EU’s fresh lawsuit against AstraZeneca as the Anglo-Swedish vaccine maker braces for more trouble, look at how a Chile-Bolivia train route, reestablished after 16 years could boost regional trade, and examine South Africa’s economic situation as the country gradually opens up to industrial activity.

Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • The European Union launched a new lawsuit against AstraZeneca this week. The new case which will concern the merit of EU’s legal proceedings would allow the 27-member bloc to seek financial penalties from AstraZeneca for breach of the supply contract. AstraZeneca had cut short its promise of delivering 3000 million doses to the block by over 60% to less than 100 million doses, slashing hopes of member countries to immunize their citizens before a larger third wave hit.

  • A rail line between Chile and Bolivia that has remained defunct for 16 years is being reestablished in an attempt to boost regional trade. A test train was dispatched from the port of Arica in Chile last week, signalling the reactivation of freight traffic to Bolivia’s La Paz after and could boost Bolivian exports through Chilean ports while bettering bilateral trade ties between the two South American countries. The Arica-La Paz railway line had been functional since 1913 and was destroyed in a deluge in 2001.

  • The national statistical service of South Africa recently revealed that the country’s manufacturing output rose 4.6% year on year in March after falling by a revised 2.5% in February, even as calls for a stricter lockdown continue to increase. The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa has described the numbers as encouraging for the M&E industry as they signal a return to normal economic activity. 

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