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G20 leaders commit to addressing trade disruptions caused by COVID-19

G20 leaders on Thursday pledged to enhance global cooperation to fight the coronavirus pandemic, committing to ensure any “emergency” trade measures are measured and temporary.

As of last week, more than 50 governments had implemented some type of export restriction on medical supplies and equipment in response to the pandemic, according to a study from Global Trade Alert. Analysts have warned that such tools could lead to higher prices, supply shortages and isolationism.

“Emergency measures aimed at protecting health will be targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary,” G20 leaders said in a joint statement issued after a teleconference on Thursday. “We commit to continue working together to facilitate international trade and coordinate responses in ways that avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.”

Additionally, the G20 leaders — including President Trump — said they would direct their trade ministers to assess “the impact of the pandemic on trade.”

“We reiterate our goal to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open,” the statement continues. “Consistent with the needs of our citizens, we will work to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, and work to resolve disruptions to the global supply chains, to support the health and wellbeing of all people.”

During the 2008 financial crisis, G20 leaders committed to not impose new barriers to investment or trade in goods and services, enact export restrictions or implement WTO “inconsistent measures to stimulate exports,” according to a 2008 joint statement.

Earlier this week, trade ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand and Singapore committed to maintaining “open and connected” supply chains and to refrain from the imposition of trade-restrictive measures, according to a March 25 joint statement

Source : Inside Trade

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