1 RIO AND MONGOLIA AGREE TO REPLACE $7BN PLAN TO EXPAND COPPER MINE WWW.ASIA.NIKKEI.COM  PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      2 MONGOLIA TO REPATRIATE NEARLY 2,000 STRANDED NATIONALS FROM ABROAD WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      3 MONGOLIA REPORTS 45 MORE COVID-19 CASES, 50 RECOVERIES WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      4 CHINA'S INNER MONGOLIA TO END CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING, BAN NEW STEEL, COKE PROJECTS WWW.REUTERS.COM PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      5 OYU TOLGOI LLC PAYS MNT 230 BILLION UNDER TAX ACT BY MONGOLIAN TAX AUTHORITY WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      6 WORLD BANK TO HELP ELIMINATING LEARNING LOSS WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      7 CHINA STILL HAS ‘MAJOR CONCERNS’ ABOUT BOEING’S 737 MAX WWW.BLOOMBERG.COM PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      8 RUSSIA TRIPLES GAS SUPPLIES TO CHINA VIA POWER OF SIBERIA PIPELINE WWW.RT.COM PUBLISHED:2021/03/01      9 HAS CHINA LIFTED 100 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY? WWW.BBC.COM PUBLISHED:2021/02/28      10 COVID: HOW THIS INDIAN FIRM IS VACCINATING THE WORLD WWW.BBC.COM PUBLISHED:2021/02/28      ТЭНХЛЭГ ЗУУЧ: I САРЫН БАЙДЛААР ХАУС БОЛОН ТАУН ХАУСНЫ 112 ТӨСӨЛ ХЭРЭГЖИЖ БАЙНА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     МОНГОЛ БАНК: 2021 ОНД $1.4 ТЭРБУМЫН ГШХО ОРЖ ИРЭХ ТӨЛӨВТЭЙ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     ОРОН СУУЦНЫ ТҮРЭЭСИЙН ДУНДАЖ ҮНЭ I САРД 1.45 САЯ ТӨГРӨГ БОЛЖ , ӨМНӨХ САРААС 3.8 ХУВИАР БУУРЧЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     НЭГ УЛС ӨДӨРТ 65000 ХҮНИЙГ ВАКЦИНЖУУЛЖ БАЙГАА БОЛ МАНАЙХ ЗУРГАА ХОНОГТ 8000 ИРГЭНЭЭ ДАРХЛААЖУУЛАВ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     БУЯНТ-УХАА БОЛОН ЧИНГИС ХААН НИСЭХ БУУДАЛ, ЗАМЫН-ҮҮД, АЛТАНБУЛАГ БООМТОД ЭРСДЭЛИЙН ҮНЭЛГЭЭ ХИЙЖ, 5 ДУГААР САРЫН 1-НЭЭС ХИЛЭЭ НЭЭХ БЭЛТГЭЛ ХАНГАЖ БАЙНА WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     НҮҮРС, ЗЭСИЙН БАЯЖМАЛЫН ЭКСПОРТ ӨСӨЛТТЭЙ БАЙНА WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     29,5 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙН ИПОТЕКИЙН ЗЭЭЛ ОЛГОЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     НҮҮРСНИЙ ЭКСПОРТ ӨНГӨРСӨН ОНЫ МӨН ҮЕЭС 42.9 ХУВИАР ӨСЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/03/01     I САРД БАНКНУУД 652 ЗЭЭЛДЭГЧИД 53.2 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙН ИПОТЕКИЙН ЗЭЭЛ ШИНЭЭР ОЛГОЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/02/28     УУХҮЯ: I/01-II/21 ХҮРТЭЛХ ХУГАЦААНД 3.8 САЯ ТОНН НҮҮРС ЭКСПОРТОЛСОН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2021/02/28    

Events

Name organizer Where
"Хөдөө аж ахуй & Хүнс 2021" олон улсын цахим үзэсгэлэн / нүүр тулсан уулзалтууд MBD online

NEWS

64x64

Rio and Mongolia agree to replace $7bn plan to expand copper mine www.asia.nikkei.com

ULAANBAATAR -- After weeks of escalating tensions and leadership turmoil, Mongolia and Rio Tinto have agreed to work out a new arrangement to finance the costly expansion of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, Nikkei Asia has learned.
The rising cost of the new underground phase of the mine, one of the world's biggest copper deposits, played a role in bringing down both Mongolia's previous prime minister and Rio's last chief executive. This appears to have helped set the stage for changing the terms of how the two co-owners of the project will share the expense.
Public irritation has been running high in Mongolia after new figures emerged late last year showing that the government could not expect to start receiving dividends from its 34% ownership of the mine in 2032 as originally expected. Rather, due to a new two-year delay and a $1.5 billion jump in the project's cost to $6.8 billion, the government is concerned it may not receive any dividend before the mine's reserves are depleted.
While Rio has solely financed the construction and operation of the mine and provided Mongolia with a loan to finance its share of the mine's ownership, it also gets all the profits for now, with Rio taking a management fee and payments on its loan out of Oyu Tolgoi's earnings. Under the expansion arrangement reached in 2015, Ulaanbaatar has to wait until the loan is fully repaid before receiving a dividend though it does collect royalties on the minerals mined.
Now both sides are ready to scrap that deal and put a new one in place.
"Both sides have agreed to work on canceling the 2015 deal and building a new one," Solongo Bayarsaikhan, one of the government's negotiators as deputy cabinet secretariat chief, told Nikkei Asia. "Rio expressed its willingness to reduce the interest rate and its management fee."
A source close to Rio confirmed the company is now willing to set aside the 2015 deal and redraft terms.
A key point will be how to handle further cost increases.
"There is no regulation in the underground mine development contract about what to do if the underground mine construction cost increases in the future," Bayasgalan Enkhbaatar, a government appointee on Oyu Tolgoi's board, told Nikkei. "That is why we want to build a new contract, not amend the 2015 deal."
In a related development, the government said Friday that Rio had paid 230 billion tugrik ($87.55 million) of some 1 trillion tugrik founding owing after audits of past annual tax filings by Turquoise Hill Resources, the Canadian mining company through which Rio controls the other 66% of Oyu Tolgoi's shares. The government, which last year launched international arbitration claims for the sums, said it expects to receive another 420 billion tugrik this week.
Open-pit mining at Oyu Tolgoi, which also produces gold, started in 2012. The underground section is now set to open in October 2022.
Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai, a longtime critic of the project's costs, took office as Mongolia's prime minister on Jan. 27 after his predecessor resigned in the face of protests over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The escalating costs at the mine also played some role in the departure of Jean-Sebastien Jacques as Rio's chief executive. Jakob Stausholm took over as successor on Jan. 1, appointing Mongolian Bold Baatar to head up the company's copper operations, with a brief to work things out with the government in Ulaanbaatar.
"Bold Baatar has already set his team and they have commenced discussions with the government of Mongolia," Stausholm told Nikkei in a statement last week.
"I remain convinced that we will be able to find mutually acceptable solutions as the Oyu Tolgoi development is not only an impressive engineering achievement delivering the needed copper to the world, but it is fundamentally a development for the benefit of the Mongolian people," he said.
Mongolia and Rio Tinto have a long history of disputes over how to develop Oyu Tolgoi. Rio Tinto operates the project without owning it directly, although it has control through its majority ownership of Turquoise Hill.
Rio Tinto has collected $1.3 billion in management fees since 2013 while Mongolia still owes $2.2 billion on its loan from Rio. Rio says the mine project pays around $300 million in taxes annually to the Mongolian government, including royalties.
Turquoise Hill and Rio Tinto, and their respective shareholders, have also clashed in recent months over the rising costs and delays with Oyu Tolgoi.
Former Mongolian Prime Minister Saikhanbileg Chimed, who signed the 2015 contract, is under investigation over his handling of the deal but is in exile. Bayar Sanj, a predecessor, was sentenced in 2020 to five years' imprisonment for abuse of power in another case related to the mine.
...


64x64

Mongolia to repatriate nearly 2,000 stranded nationals from abroad www.xinhuanet.com

March 1 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia will bring back a total of 1,920 stranded nationals from abroad on chartered flights this month, the country's foreign ministry said on Monday.
The country is expected to send 12 flights to repatriate the citizens, the ministry said in a statement.
Mongolia has repatriated around 30,000 nationals on chartered flights, buses or trains from different parts of the world, since it suspended international commercial flights last year due to the pandemic, the foreign ministry said.
The Asian country has so far reported more than 2,950 COVID-19 cases, with six deaths.
...


64x64

Mongolia reports 45 more COVID-19 cases, 50 recoveries www.xinhuanet.com

Mongolia reported 45 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,952.
The latest cases were locally transmitted and detected in the country's capital Ulan Bator, the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases said in a statement on Monday.
Meanwhile, 50 more COVID-19 patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the total recoveries to 2,299, it said.
The Asian country has recorded six COVID-19-related deaths since it confirmed its first case in March 2020.
The country launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign across the country last week, with the aim of vaccinating at least 60 percent of its 3.3 million people. Enditem
...


64x64

China's Inner Mongolia to end cryptocurrency mining, ban new steel, coke projects www.reuters.com

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Inner Mongolia will end all cryptocurrency mining projects and stop reviewing new projects in industries which consume large amounts of energy, such as steel, coke and methanol production, as it attempts to meet energy efficiency targets.
The region was the only one of 30 mainland areas under Beijing’s energy consumption and energy intensity review that failed to meet the targets in 2019, drawing criticism from the central government in September due to its poor achievement.
Now China’s No.2 coal mining region, a major energy consumer, aims to cap energy consumption growth at around 5 million tonnes of standard coal equivalent in 2021, according to a draft rule issued by the regional state planner.
It also plans to cut energy intensity, or the amount of energy consumed per unit of economic growth, by 3% from 2020 levels.
All cryptocrurrency mining projects - which require huge amounts of computing power and hence use large amounts of energy - will be shut down by the end of April this year. Inner Mongolia is an attractive “mining” spot alongside Sichuan and Xinjiang due to low electricity prices.
Small firms with outdated technology in the steel, ferroalloy, coke, graphite electrode and coal-fired power sectors have also been given a timetable to close by the end of 2022.
“(Inner Mongolia) will tighten its energy control measures and bear the targets throughout all economic and social aspects,” said the draft rule, adding it will strictly curb blind expansion at firms which consume a lot of energy.
Local governments in China are scrambling to control energy consumption and improve energy efficiency after President Xi Jinping pledged to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
In 2016-2019, energy intensity in Inner Mongolia rose by 9.5% while overall energy consumption grew by 65.62 million tonnes.
The region has also vowed to increase the share of renewable energy in its power portfolio, aiming to install more than 100 gigawatts of renewable generation capacity by 2025.
China appears to have missed its target for cutting energy intensity set for 2016-2020, according to Reuters calculation based on official data.
Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh Editing by Kirsten Donovan
...


64x64

Oyu Tolgoi LLC pays MNT 230 billion under Tax Act by Mongolian Tax Authority www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. On February 26, 2021, the Government of Mongolia issued a press release stating that Oyu Tolgoi LLC has paid MNT 229.8 billion as the first installment under the Tax Act issued by the General Taxation Authority of Mongolia (Mongolian Tax Authority - MTA).
“In 2018 MTA imposed a Tax Act for Oyu Tolgoi LLC for additional MNT 377 billion of taxes after conducting audit on its tax filings and returns covering the period of 2013–2015. With respect to around MNT 350 billion of this Tax Act, Oyu Tolgoi had initiated an arbitration process at the London Court of International Arbitration,” the press statement reads.
“In addition, the MTA completed an audit of Oyu Tolgoi LLC’s 2016-2018 tax returns and in December 2020, notified to the Oyu Tolgoi LLC of MNT 649.4 billion (approximately US$228 million) of additional cash tax, inclusive of penalty and default interests, which subsequently Oyu Tolgoi declined to accept and announced to include the latest tax assessment matters in the existing international arbitration.”
“In line with the revised General Taxation Law, adopted by the State Great Khural, the parliament of Mongolia on March 22, 2019, the Mongolian Tax Authority sent, on February 10 and 19, 2021, respectively, the Tax Assessment claim to Oyu Tolgoi LLC for MNT 649 billion due to be paid to the government of Mongolia.”
“In compliances with the tax act claim by the MTA, Oyu Tolgoi LLC paid MNT 229.8 billion as the first installment to the government budget on February 25, 2021.
“As such, the Oyu Tolgoi LLC has started paying for the taxes it owes under the Tax Act issued by the MTA, obeying the tax legislations of Mongolia in the scope of the talks underway between the Mongolian government’s working group and Oyu Tolgoi’s investor side and as a result of the continuous demand put forward to pay taxes owing to Mongolia in full same as any other legal entities operating in Mongolia.”
...


64x64

World Bank to help eliminating learning loss www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Minister of Education and Science L.Enkh-Amgalan met with the World Bank (WB) Country Manager for Mongolia Andrei Mikhnev on February 26, exchanging views on implementation and outcomes of projects and programs being realized by the WB in Mongolia’s education and science sectors.
According to Credit Agreement between the Government of Mongolia and the World Bank and project document, “Education Quality Reform” project is under co-implementation. In frame of the project, the sides have focused on improving the quality of education, strengthening country’s capacity to provide classroom-level support for teaching in primary schools in the country, implementing school-grant program as well as protecting citizens’ livelihood in time of the pandemic and providing support in “Child Money” program. As a result, 656 general education schools, 320 thousand primary school children and 10,800 primary school teachers have been involved in the project.
In regard with Mongolia’s participation in the Program for International Students Assessment (PISA) for the first time in 2022, Minister L.Enkh-Amgalan asked the WB Representative to further render support on creating a monitoring and assessment system for students’ evaluation. He also underlined the importance of making education open and digitized due to direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19 pandemic. In conjunction with it, the Minister expressed his request to jointly develop and implement a new project to make comprehensive assessment for students, teachers and institutes in 2021-2025 within the scope of digital education.
While expressing the Ministry's intend to pay attention on teachers’ skills by developing “Skilled Teacher” project, the Education Minister put a proposal to partner in a project to eliminate learning loss of students caused by the pandemic.
In turn, Mr. Andrei Mikhnev highlighted that the World Bank will not skimp on funding for a program to eliminate learning loss aside from projects to be carried out in education sector.
...


64x64

China Still Has ‘Major Concerns’ About Boeing’s 737 Max www.bloomberg.com

China still has major safety concerns about Boeing Co.’s 737 Max, the deputy head of the country’s aviation regulator said Monday when asked if it was considering following others in allowing the plane to fly again.
Once issues have been fully addressed, China will conduct a final review of the aircraft, Dong Zhiyi said at a briefing in Beijing. Authorities have been in “full communication” with Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, he said.
China, a crucial market for Boeing and the Max, was the first country to impose a ban on the aircraft after a crash in Ethiopia in March 2019 that killed 157 people. The previous October, a Max jet operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea, claiming 189 lives. Both disasters were partly blamed on software that pushed the planes into nosedives.
Other nations followed China’s lead on the flight ban, resulting in the Max being grounded globally for about 20 months. Several major regulators have certified it to fly again in recent months and it is back in service in the U.S., Europe and Brazil. Australia lifted its ban on the plane last week, as did Saudi Arabia on Monday, state media reported. But China hasn’t budged.
A spokesman for Boeing didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. Shares of the Chicago-based company were up 2% to $216.22 from Friday’s close in pre-market U.S. trading, amid a rally in U.S. equity futures.
Trade Tensions
Boeing’s China orders largely dried up in the past four years amid heightened tension between Washington and Beijing around trade and other areas, as well as concern over the Max, which was a best-seller.
“I do believe that when a constructive relationship is begun, then things will quiet down and the Chinese will want to get airplanes,” Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun said in December, the same month the Max returned to commercial service in the U.S. for the first time since the grounding.
China has three main criteria that need to be met before allowing the Max to fly again: changes in design aimed at fixing the plane’s problems need to be approved by China, pilots need to be retrained to fly the jetliners following those changes, and the conclusions of the Ethiopian and Indonesian crash reports need to be clear.
Ethiopian investigators have said they plan to release their final report around the second anniversary of the March 10, 2019 crash.
The big three Chinese carriers -- Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern Airlines Corp. -- are all Max customers, along with about 10 others in the country.
In a recent market outlook, Boeing said China will continue to be the main driver of the aviation industry’s worldwide growth over the next 20 years. Chinese airlines are likely to buy 8,600 new airplanes worth $1.4 trillion during the period, the U.S. manufacturer said.
— With assistance by Will Davies, Emma O'Brien, Anthony Palazzo, and David Malingha
...


64x64

Russia triples gas supplies to China via Power of Siberia pipeline www.rt.com

Russia’s energy major Gazprom said on Monday that it had pumped more gas to China in February via the Power of Siberia pipeline than it had initially planned, more than tripling supplies compared to the same month last year.
“The export of gas to China through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline continues to grow. Supplies regularly exceed our daily contractual obligations. The actual monthly volume of supplies in February is 3.2 times more than in February 2020,” Gazprom said in a statement.
The 3,000km (1,864 mile) cross-border pipeline started official deliveries of Russian natural gas to China in 2019. The so-called eastern route’s capacity is 61 billion cubic meters of gas per year, including 38 billion cubic meters for export. Last year, Gazprom supplied 4.1 billion cubic meters of gas to China via the Power of Siberia. It plans to boost exports by an additional six billion cubic meters.
The agreement on gas supplies via the Power of Siberia pipeline was reached in 2014, with Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) inking a 30-year contract. It is Gazprom’s biggest-ever agreement and the first natural gas pipeline between Russia and China.
Russia is set to further increase supplies of piped gas to China, including via the Power of Siberia 2 project. This second pipeline entered the design stage last year, and will be capable of delivering as much as 50 billion cubic meters of gas once it’s finished. Gazprom intends to become China’s biggest natural gas supplier, accounting for more than 25 percent of Chinese imports by 2035.
...


64x64

Has China lifted 100 million people out of poverty? www.bbc.com

Chinese President Xi Jinping says his country has reached the ambitious goal set when he assumed office in 2012 of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.
But what has China actually achieved?
We've compared the Chinese data with global poverty figures compiled by the World Bank.
China's poverty figures
Poverty is defined by China as anyone in rural areas earning less than about $2.30 a day (adjusted for inflation). It was fixed in 2010 and looks at income but also living conditions, healthcare and education.
Provinces have been racing to reach the goal. Jiangsu, for example, announced in January last year that only 17 of its 80 million residents still lived in poverty.
The national benchmark used by the Chinese government is slightly higher than the $1.90 a day poverty line used by the World Bank to look at poverty globally.
World Bank data
How extreme poverty fell in China. Living on less than $1.90 a day. .
Using these figures gives us a better standard measurement used by the World Bank across all countries.
In 1990 there were more than 750 million people in China living below the international poverty line - about two-thirds of the population.
By 2012, that had fallen to fewer than 90 million, and by 2016 - the most recent year for which World Bank figures are available - it had fallen to 7.2 million people (0.5% of the population).
So clearly, even in 2016 China was well on the way to reaching its target.
This suggests that overall, 745 million fewer people were living in extreme poverty in China than were 30 years ago.
World Bank figures do not take us to the present day, but the trend is certainly in line with the Chinese government's announcement.
Elsewhere in the region, Vietnam has also seen a dramatic fall in extreme poverty rates over a similar period.
Another large country, India, had 22% of its population living below the international poverty line in 2011 (the most recent data available).
Brazil has 4.4% of its people earning less than $1.90 a day.
China's rapid growth
China's rapid reduction in poverty went hand in hand with a long period of sustained economic growth. Much of the focus has been on the poorest rural areas.
How China became the world's 'economic miracle'
The government has relocated millions of people from remote villages into apartment complexes. Sometimes these were built in towns and cities, but sometimes new villages were built near the old ones.
But there has been criticism that people had little choice over whether to move homes, or jobs.
Some also point out that the reason rural poverty was so widespread was because of Communist Party policies in the first place.
"There is no doubt something absolutely extraordinary has happened over the last 40 years," says the Economist's David Rennie.
However, this success in bringing people out of abject poverty is not simply down to the government, he says.
"Chinese people, by working extremely hard, lifted themselves out of poverty - in part because some of the stupidest economic policies ever created, by Chairman Mao, were abandoned in favour of versions of capitalism."
Mao Zedong, who founded the People's Republic of China in 1949, oversaw attempts to industrialise the country's peasant economy in the 1950s. His disastrous Great Leap Forward, which began in 1958, forced farmers into communes, leading to mass starvation in the countryside.
While China has made substantial work of tackling the deepest poverty first, should it be holding itself to a higher standard?
Living on less than $5.50 a day. Number of people in China (millions). .
For example, the World Bank draws a higher poverty line for upper-middle-income countries, which tries to reflect economic conditions. It sets this at $5.50 a day. China is now an upper-middle-income country, says the bank.
About a quarter of China's population is in poverty, according to this metric. For comparison, this is slightly higher than Brazil.
And there is widespread income equality. Last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China still had 600 million people whose monthly income was barely 1,000 yuan ($154). He said that was not enough to rent a room in a city.
However, by any measure China has made huge strides to lift millions out of the toughest standards of living over the last few decades.
...


64x64

Covid: How this Indian firm is vaccinating the world www.bbc.com

As pharmaceutical giants ramp-up production in the race to vaccinate the world, one firm has shot into the lead.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) isn't a household name, but it's the world's largest vaccine maker.
The firm churns out 1.5 billion doses every year from the company's vast manufacturing plant in Pune, Western India.
It is currently making Covid vaccines under license for pharmaceutical firms such as AstraZeneca.
"We took a huge calculated risk", by betting on several vaccines in 2020 before regulators had even approved of them, SII's chief executive Adar Poonawalla told the BBC.
"It wasn't a blind risk, because we knew the Oxford scientists from our earlier collaboration with the malaria vaccine."
SII is privately owned, which enabled fast decision-making between Mr Poonawalla and his scientists.
But funding proved a challenge. The firm invested around $260m (£186.7m) and raised the rest from philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, and advances from other countries.
SII managed to secure $800m by May 2020 to make multiple Covid vaccines.
Stashing away doses
How did SII actually scale up production? In April 2020, Mr Poonawalla calculated what they would need, from vials and filters.
"I got 600 million doses worth of glass vials ahead of time and locked it in my warehouse by September," he explained.
"The most important part that enabled us to have so many doses - 70-80 million in January - was because I started manufacturing at risk in August."
"I wish other companies also had taken that risk, because the world would have had many more doses."
Mr Poonawalla criticised the patchwork of global regulatory systems and lack of harmonisation for production delays.
He said the major regulators, including the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), could have united and agreed a quality standard.
He also criticised national governments, claiming that regulators in the countries that are making the vaccines, from India to Europe, could have united to agree a standard international benchmark.
Vaccines being produced at the Serum Institute of India
image captionSII managed to secure $800m by May 2020 to make multiple Covid vaccines
"Why can't we still harmonise it and save all this time, especially even for the new vaccines. I'd hate to have to go through all this again."
New variants
Mr Poonawalla played down concerns about new variants: "Anyone who has taken that [Oxford AstraZeneca] vaccine so far hasn't had to go to hospital or go on a ventilator and had their life at risk.
"They've also passed that disease on to others. So yes, it's not an ideal situation, but it has protected your life."
In India, SII is also involved the world's largest inoculation programme, to vaccinate 300 million by August. But, according to Bloomberg, only 56% of people eligible to get a shot have actually stepped forward.
"A lot of vaccine hesitancy traditionally has come about when either celebrities or non-experts have said vaccines are not safe," said Mr Poonawalla.
"I always just request celebrities and others who have this tremendous power on the social networks, to just be a bit responsible and read up on the facts before they say anything."
...