Yesterday afternoon, attended a conference call of the G20 Ministers of Trade. The discussions focused on information sharing about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international flows of trade and investment. The talks had been scheduled at short notice at the behest of the G20 heads of state and government. In the light of the significant impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on global trade and supply chains, the ministers discussed measures to secure global shipments of medical supplies, agricultural produce and other essential goods. A joint declaration was presented as a result of the conference call.
Said Federal Minister Altmaier: “The agreement is another important building block in the efforts made by all states to resist COVID-19. We agreed within the G20 that we need to take decisive and swift action to eliminate obstacles from global supply chains, and that close cooperation, transparency, and solidarity are the way forward. Trade policy can make an important contribution to ensuring an effective exit from the crisis. For this reason, we ought to jointly advocate rules-based trade and the multilateral trading system with a strong World Trade Organization, and avoid tensions and obstacles in global trade.”
In yesterday’s joint declaration, the G20 Ministers of Trade agreed to support the rules-based trading system as a contribution to the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic and for economic recovery. They highlighted the objective of creating an open, transparent, and stable environment for trade and investment, and of keeping the markets open. Furthermore, the ministers affirmed their support for the objective of making key supplies available at short notice where they are needed most. In this context, they stressed the special roles of logistics networks including land, maritime, and air freight traffic as the backbone of global supply chains, and of an exchange of skilled professionals. The ministers also emphasised the need to give special attention to the needs of SMEs, self-employed people and employees, and of developing countries and emerging economies. Additional measures are to be considered in cooperation with international organisations and deliberated by the competent G20 working group (Trade and Investment Working Group).