Coronavirus impacted global demand and suppl chains
Services sector hugely impacted, WTO
Trade coverage of new import restrictions is relatively low
The coronavirus pandemic and its associated impact is said to have heavily impacted the services sector a World Trade Organisation report has revealed.
According to the report which covers mid-October 2020 and mid-October 2021, the sector recorded 138 (90%) of the 153 reported COVID-19-related measures impacting trade in services.
“Services sectors were heavily impacted by the pandemic, and 138 (90%) of the 153 reported COVID-19-related measures affecting trade in services put in place in response to the pandemic remain in force. During the review period, 29 new COVID-19-related services measures were recorded by the WTO Secretariat,” the Organisation said.
It continued, “With respect to non-COVID-19-related trade measures, 124 new trade-facilitating and 103 trade-restrictive measures on goods were recorded. The trade coverage of the import-facilitating measures introduced during the review period was estimated at US$481.6 billion and the coverage of import-restrictive measures stood at US$105.9 billion.
“Although the trade coverage of new import restrictions is relatively low, the stockpile of import restrictions implemented since 2009 and still in force was estimated at US$1.5 trillion, representing some 8.7% of world imports as of mid-October 2021,” the report added.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala presenting the findings of the report highlighted that since the outbreak of the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 related trade facilitating measures had outnumbered trade-restrictive ones by nearly two to one.
Okonjo-Iweala added that of the 117 export restrictions WTO members and observers introduced, 45 export restrictions remained in place, covering products such as medicines, other medical supplies and personal protective equipment.
“I urge members to roll back these restrictions as soon as possible as they may be hampering the COVID-19 response, including vaccine production and deployment,” the Director-General urged.