Geneva, 12 November 2021 (TDI): WTO economies faced constraints due to recent spikes in shipping costs. This was the focus of discussions on 10 November between WTO delegates, academics, and representatives from the private sector.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called on governments and businesses to mitigate shipping rates on trade. She mentioned, “continue identifying supply chain bottlenecks and implementing measures to mitigate their impact on trade” and to work towards “making global supply chains more resilient”.
The session was conducted to analyze the dynamic situation in global supply chains. Moreover to share information on members’ constraints in importing and exporting goods due to current shipping disruptions. The members also exchange views on measures to mitigate the impact of those disruptions.
The essential role that the WTO can play in helping strengthen global supply chains was also touched upon. They also underlined the benefits of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Mauritian Foreign Minister, Alan Ganoo, called for “streamlining, modernizing and digitalizing trade procedures, reducing physical contact between workers in the shipping industry, while at the same time keeping ships moving and ports open”. He also called for finding creative approaches. For instance, cross-national cooperation among countries and transport service providers.
WTO: COVID 19 Impact on Economies
The COVID-19 pandemic has put logistic systems under stress. It created uncertainty and increased trade costs. There is strong pressure on supply chains due to the recent strong rebound in global trade. Moreover, the surging demand for consumer durable goods. Along with, rising demand for shipping containers from East Asia. In addition, the COVID-19 restriction has heightened shipping rates”.
At the same time, the Director-General noted that supply chain bottlenecks “have emerged as a significant risk weighing on the wider post-pandemic recovery in economic output and trade”. Moreover, she mentioned, “we need to do everything to lessen trade impacts especially on small businesses across the world”.
Deputy Director-General, Anabel González noted it is critically important countries should start post-pandemic economic recovery. Moreover, to draw lessons from COVID in order to prevent similar shipping disruptions in the future.