COVID-19 and world trade
The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented disruption to the global economy and world trade, as production and consumption are scaled back across the globe.
- Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
- Technical barriers to trade
- TRIPS and public health
- Quantitative restrictions
- Government procurement
- Trade statistics
Maintaining open trade
The free movement of goods and services is our strongest, and frankly, our only asset to ensure supplies can go to where they are needed most. ... It is why we are calling for priority ‘green lanes’ for essential freight transport. These will ensure that crossing the border takes no more than 15 minutes. And they will help ensure that goods and supplies can go where they are needed and we can all avoid shortages.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
26 March 2020
The international trade system functions well in normal times. Now we have to think about how we can make sure the world trade system can better handle crises like this. We will inevitably have a discussion on strategic sectors and strategic stocks, but we also need a discussion on how to uphold trade in times of crisis.
“When all this is done, we will have a discussion on globalization. There are negative effects of globalization, but this also shows that we’re all in this together. The answer to the questions that are raised should not be a plea for less globalization. We have everything to lose if we roll back globalization.
Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s deputy prime minister and finance minister
25 March 2020
In order to facilitate international trade we advocate a simultaneous agreement between the G20 states on a crisis moratorium for new tariffs — on all goods. Also, the pending WTO moratorium on electronic data transfers should be extended and global rules for non-discriminatory digital trade agreed.
Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce
25 March 2020
Procurement in health systems is one of the activities most hard-hit by corruption. With medicine and medical supplies shortages being reported there will be an additional strain on procurement. It’s estimated that 10-25% of all money spent in procurement globally is lost to corruption and in the EU 28% of health corruption cases are related specifically to procurement of medical equipment. With the increased demand for medicines and equipment there’s the potential increased risk of collusion and that suppliers might demand higher prices knowing that governments have no other option but to pay. Having open and transparent contracting processes would allow red flags of corruption to be more easily spotted, leaving corrupt actors less space to hide and ensure governments are being charged reasonable prices so they can provide the best care possible to patients.
Natalie Rhodes, Transparency International
One of the most effective means of addressing this crisis is through timely, accurate information. An informed public is better positioned to make sound decisions including on questions related to trade. This is why we have created this dedicated page on the WTO website. It will provide up-to-the minute trade-related information including relevant notifications by WTO members, the impact the virus has had on exports and imports and how WTO activities have been affected by the pandemic.
Azevêdo sees sharp fall in trade, calls for global solutions to COVID-19 crisis
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Frequently asked questions: The WTO and COVID-19
COVID-19: Trade and trade-related measures (as of 29 March 2020)
WTO members' notifications on COVID-19
- WHO COVID-19 pandemic
- UNICEF news and updates on COVID-19
- WFP emergency response and situation reports
- FAO COVID-19
- IFAD — The potential impact of COVID-19 on SDG 2 (food security) — in China and globally
- United Nations COVID-19
- UNCTAD COVID-19
- IMF COVID-19
- World Bank COVID-19
- OECD COVID-19
- IATA database of government measures
- World Customs Organization COVID-19
- International Road Transport Union COVID-19
- International Civil Aviation Organization COVID-19 airport status
WTO TRADE BAROMETERS
The WTO has developed a set of indicators to provide “real-time” information on trends in world trade: the Goods Trade Barometer and the Services Trade Barometer. Both barometers highlight turning points in world trade and are intended to complement conventional trade statistics and forecasts.
Global business/ civil society response to COVID-19
- Transparency International: Corruption and the coronavirus
- Global Business Coalition members call to G20 for measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its effects on people & markets
- Global Business Coalition members call to G20 for measures to enable global supply of vital protective gear, medicines and medical supplies
- Joint statement from the food supply chain on COVID-19
- South Asian Women Development Forum in Nepal: COVID-19 and its effect on Nepal
- International Chamber of Shipping: Joint Open Letter to United Nations agencies from the global maritime transport industry
- BusinessEurope: Overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and focussing on the essential
- IOE/ITUC: Joint statement on COVID-19
- Global Business Coalition calls for measures to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on supply chains
- B20/ICC/WHO: Need for coordinated action by G20 leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- ICC: Call for urgent action from G20 leaders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak
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