ECONOMIC RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent crisis in Ukraine have put supply chains to the test, raising serious concerns of possible supply chain disruptions and risks to food security. Disruptions are expected to become even more frequent in the future. In parallel, the complexity of global value chains requires more detailed monitoring of trade flows.
Responding to disruptions in a timely manner and better understanding the functioning of complex value chains requires timely and detailed data, which are now more accessible thanks to new information and communication technologies. The Global Trade Data Portal can be accessed here.
“Data are the foundation of informed decision making,” said WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in welcoming the launch of the Portal. “We need timely data to support timely policy action and rulemaking.”
In addition to providing real-time insights into maritime grain trade based on cargo-tracking data supplied by global trade analytics platform Kpler, the Global Trade Data Portal also offers visualization tools based on WTO trade statistics and tariff data as well as a list of freely accessible sources for trade-related statistics and data from other organizations.
In response to growing global concerns about food security, the WTO has worked with the International Grain Council (IGC) to launch a new dashboard mainly focused on wheat. The dashboard provides comprehensive bi-weekly updates on international seaborne trade in wheat, which constitutes more than 80 per cent of total traded volumes.
The Portal includes an interactive grain and oilseeds dashboard updated every three hours that displays short-term trade trends in a variety of crops such as wheat, corn, barley and soybeans.
“The paradigm of grains trade has switched abruptly from “just in time” to “just in case”,” noted Arnaud Petit, Executive Director of the International Grains Council. “These new trade practices mean logistics and infrastructure are more important than ever. Having real-time shipments information from 900 ports across 109 economies will provide a unique tool to assess and respond quickly to a fast-changing environment.” A video message from Mr Petit is available here.
The dashboards respond to members' requests for regular updates on trade and market developments, as outlined in the Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Insecurity adopted at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference last June.
They complement other tools developed by other international organizations such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank and the UN World Food Programme as well as the Agricultural Market Information System and the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program platforms to improve transparency in response to food security challenges.
Further dashboards will be developed in the coming months with the objective of allowing users to monitor in real time how trade is evolving and helping WTO members better address the challenges facing global trade today.