World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said cross-border trade and investment flows have a role to play in efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and will be vital for fostering a stronger recovery once the medical emergency subsides.
In a video message recorded from his home, the Director-General said a global solution is needed to address the global challenge brought about by the pandemic.
“No country is self-sufficient, no matter how powerful or advanced it may be. Trade allows for the efficient production and supply of basic goods and services, medical supplies and equipment, food and energy … Keeping trade and investment flowing will be critical to keep shelves plentiful and prices affordable,” he said.
WTO economists are analysing the fallout from the crisis and will report their findings and projections for trade in 2020 and 2021. Although the report is still a few weeks away, the Director-General said the economists “foresee a very sharp decline in trade”.
“Once the medical crisis begins to recede, trade will allow countries to help each other grow, bringing faster and stronger economic recovery for all of us. The WTO will do its part,” he said.