BUSINESS WTO chief sees sharp fall in trade, calls for global solutions to COVID-19 crisis

BUSINESS

WTO chief sees sharp fall in trade, calls for global solutions to COVID-19 crisis

Xinhua

09:54, March 26, 2020

Hong Kong airport.jpeg

Hong Kong’s cargo airport (File photo: AFP)

GENEVA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Seeing a very sharp decline in global trade, Roberto Azevedo, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), on Wednesday said a global solution is needed to address the global challenge brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a video message published by the WTO, Azevedo admitted that "this pandemic will inevitably have an enormous impact on the economy, trade, and consequently on jobs and people's well-being."

Recalling recent projections on an economic downturn and job losses that are worse than those of the global financial crisis a dozen years ago, Azevedo said WTO would release its trade forecast in a few weeks.

He warned that economists would inevitably foresee "a very sharp decline in trade".

"Trade is what allows for the efficient production and supply of basic goods and services, medical supplies and equipment, food and energy that we all need", he continued, "keeping trade open and investments flowing will be critical to keep shelves plentiful and prices affordable."

He underlined that a global response is needed to tackle a global challenge of this pandemic, saying "no country is self-sufficient, no matter how powerful or advanced, it may be."

In a press release, Azevedo stressed the importance of transparency with regard to trade-related measures, arguing that it would be particularly useful for many countries that rely on imports for medical supplies.

He set up a task force of experts to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on trade flows and the overall global economy.

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