Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier and his counterparts adopted a catalogue of short-term and longer-term measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade and supply chains at yesterday’s second extraordinary video conference of the Trade and Investment Ministers of the G20. During their first extraordinary meeting on 30 March, the Ministers had agreed on initial common steps and announced the elaboration of concrete measures.

Minister Altmaier said: “The coronavirus pandemic reminds us of our close links. It would be disastrous if countries now lapsed into isolation and protectionism. Rather, we need to work even more closely together at international level to jointly tackle the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade flows and investment. The statement adopted yesterday by the G20 Trade Ministers and the catologue of measures are important signals showing that we stand together. We have made another important step towards ensuring stability in the field of trade and fostering multilateralism. It is essential for me that we will continue along this path to facilitate a rapid economic recovery.”

In their joint statement adopted yesterday, the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers commit to refrain from introducing export restrictions on agricultural products. In addition, they reaffirm that export restrictions on medical supplies must be targeted, proportionate, transparent and temporary, with exceptions for humanitarian aid.

Important elements of the statement include actions to accelerate the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and to speed up and streamline customs procedures. In the longer term, the Ministers aim to support the multilateral trading system and press ahead with the reform of the World Trade Organization. Furthermore, they acknowledge the importance of digital trade for resilient supply chains of essential goods and services.

You can find the joint statement by the Trade and Investment Ministers of the G20 here (PDF, 131 KB).