As countries adopt radical measures to bring the Coronavirus pandemic under control, international trade and transport systems are under tremendous stress. Early evidence shows that international trade is collapsing threatening access to goods and critical supplies. In response, a new UNCTAD policy brief outlines a ten-point action plan to help industries involved in the movement of goods keep free-flowing trade afloat during the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath.
“Trade facilitation is about keeping goods moving, so we must do our utmost to ensure the crisis doesn’t slow the movement of critical supplies,” said Shamika Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s Director of Technology and Logistics.“Facilitating trade and the transport of goods has become more important than ever, to avoid logistical obstacles that lead to shortages of necessary supplies.”
The policy brief presents concrete measures to facilitate transport and trade while protecting people from contracting COVID 19. It echoes an earlier call by UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi to keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing during this crisis period.
The foundations for recovery from COVID 19 need to be set today. This includes ensuring transport services, ports and border agencies not only remain operational, but are also effectively strengthened to cope with the unprecedented challenges they face. The action plan is rooted in UNCTAD’s work with both international policy experts and operators on the ground, through its trade facilitation, customs automation and maritime transport programmes.