economic research

A Webinar on COVID-19 and Global Value Chains: The role of the WTO and International Cooperation


COVID-19 has sparked a discussion about the provision of essential goods as some governments introduced export restrictions to secure supplies. Such restrictions, among other factors, have driven increasing interest in reshoring and the reorganisation of supply chains. There is thus a risk in the aftermath of the pandemic for the global economy to move away from economically-minded open trade policies towards policies driven by strategic political considerations.

International cooperation can help strengthen global value chains (GVCs) by reducing the threat of export restrictions, enhancing monitoring efforts, and promoting digital trade, e-commerce and the movement of essential personnel. At the same time, more flexibilities to enable countries to guarantee the provision of essential goods could be considered. With the acceleration of teleworking and digitalization, the expansion of a global regulating framework to cover such matters is becoming more urgent.

Against this background, the webinar's panellists will discuss the following questions and identify relevant best practices:

1)     How has international cooperation helped address value chain disruptions in the current crisis? How can the system be improved?

2)     Is more international cooperation needed in the production of essential goods to avoid shortages in the future? What can firms, governments and international organizations do?

3)     How can the multilateral trading system help ensure the availability of essential goods in developing countries and least developing countries (LDCs)? Does this require (temporary) changes in rules?


The event will be moderated by:

  • Robert Koopman, Chief Economist and Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO

The panel will comprise of:

  • Sunanta Kangvalkulkij, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the WTO
  • Stéphanie Leupold, Head of Trade Strategy Unit, DG Trade, European Commission
  • Willy Alfaro, Director, Trade Policy Review Division, WTO
  • Boubaker Ben-Belhassen, Director, Trade and Markets Division, FAO
  • Anabel González, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Knut Alicke, Partner, McKinsey

Please, register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.



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