The WTO Secretariat has issued a new information note on the standards– and regulation-related policies WTO members have adopted in response to COVID-19 and formally notified to the WTO. Around half of the measures are trade facilitating.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a joint statement on 20 April underlining their support for efforts to ensure the normal cross-border flow of vital medical supplies and other goods and services. “Protecting lives is our top priority, and these efforts can be impeded by unnecessary disruptions to global trade and supply chains,” they declared. The joint statement is below.
At a virtual meeting of all WTO members on 17 April, over 50 delegation heads took the floor to exchange views on the use of online discussions and written procedures to continue WTO work and decision-making during the COVID-19 lockdown. Director-General Roberto Azevêdo also used the informal session to urge members to submit information about pandemic-related trade measures to the WTO Secretariat’s ongoing monitoring exercise.
The WTO has issued a call for proposals for this year’s Public Forum, whose theme is ‘Building on 25 Years of the WTO’. Participants interested in organizing sessions at the Forum, scheduled to take place from 29 September to 2 October, are invited to submit their proposals by 1 June 2020.
The heads of the WTO and World Customs Organization (WCO) issued a joint statement on 6 April pledging to work together to facilitate trade in essential goods such as medical supplies, food, and energy.
The WTO Secretariat has released a new report on trade in medical products critical for the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report traces trade flows for products such as personal protective products, hospital and laboratory supplies, medicines and medical technology while providing information on their respective tariffs.
WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo and International Chamber of Commerce Secretary-General John Denton issued on 2 April a joint statement calling for more dialogue with business to maximize the effectiveness of public policies to mitigate the economic damage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with regards to trade.