ICC, WTO heads urge business dialogue to inform response to trade fallout from COVID-19

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.

“We are concerned about the severe disruptions to value chains in many sectors — with major implications for employment and the supply of goods, especially essential medical and food supplies,” they said in the 2 April statement. “Business can play a key role in signalling where trade flows and production chains are being affected, helping to identify solutions that maximize health outcomes while minimizing economic damage.”

“It is increasingly clear that the economic downturn caused by the pandemic will necessitate a significant rebuild of domestic policies — and of international cooperation,” they said. “Ongoing efforts to improve and strengthen the global trading system, including the WTO, must therefore continue.”

The two leaders welcomed governments’ efforts “to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on jobs and growth, and lay the foundations for a strong and inclusive recovery.” To generate “constructive recommendations to governments on trade policy measures that can be readily deployed to speed the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the immediate and mid-term,” they said the ICC would host a “virtual business roundtable” organized with its partners, as well as with support from the WTO.

The full text of the statement is available here.

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