The World Trade Organization (WTO) has welcomed G20 ministers’ endorsement of collective action to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade and investment and help foster global economic recovery.
The initiatives were endorsed at a virtual meeting of the G20 trade and investment ministers on May 14.
Director-general of WTO, Roberto Azevêdo, said the actions include short-term responses designed to prevent trade logjams and facilitate trade in products needed to contain COVID-19, as well as longer-term support to reform the multilateral trading system, build resilience in global supply chains, and strengthen international investment.
The G20 ministers pledged to promote WTO reform and “support the role of the multilateral trading system in promoting stability and predictability of international trade flows”. They agreed to “explore COVID-19-related WTO initiatives” to promote more open and resilient supply chains, and expand production capacity and trade in pharmaceuticals, medical and other health-related products.
“These commitments by G20 ministers represent an important collective response to the trade-related challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Azevêdo. “Maintaining stability and predictability in trade relations is critical to ensuring that essential medical supplies are available to save lives, and that global food security and nutrition do not become a casualty of this pandemic.”