Speaking at the annual headquarters meeting of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) in Geneva, DDG Paugam noted that global value chains have been  consecutively impacted by US-China trade tensions, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Value chains have also been impacted by the underlying challenges of supply chains, which have translated into soaring prices for international transportation and exposed vulnerabilities in just-in-time production patterns.

The most impacted players "are always the most vulnerable, that is, poor countries who are not located on major maritime routes". Small and medium-sized firms around the world "are always the ones who pay the heaviest price because of these disruptions."

Three lessons have been learned from this experience. First, international cooperation "is not the problem but part of the solution," he argued, as demonstrated in the global response to the pandemic, in particular with respect to trade in medical goods.

Second, "public-private dialogue is indispensable both to understand in depth the issue and to raise the level of political attention around it," DDG Paugam said. The WTO has helped facilitate this by hosting its first Global Supply Chains Forum in March, bringing together critical actors from across supply chains to share perspectives on the underlying causes and trajectory of continued supply chain disruptions.

Related to this, DDG Paugam underlined the contribution the WTO can make to resolving supply chain disruptions by providing a platform for transparency and dialogue, including with the private sector, and by working to keep markets open and deepen trade facilitation efforts.

More information on the WTO's Global Supply Chain Forum is available here.



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